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So the big news today, as LL is sure you’re aware, is that Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown has taken away Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells‘ beloved transportation and public works committee, only six months after Wells took it over.
Why? Well, Brown says it’s because he has a “unique opportunity” to rearrange the council’s committees that “effectively [consolidates] areas of similar interest.” Everyone else, it seems, says it’s because Brown is pissed at Wells for a host of reasons (including Wells’ investigation of Navigatorgate).
Which brings us to the topic of this post: The ham-handed way Brown handled the move with the media.
Observe: Brown tells Wells last night around 9 p.m. about his plans. Wells then promptly takes the story to the friendly Greater Greater Washington blog, which breaks the news around 7 a.m. in a post that casts Brown as a vengeful hack trying to punish Wells for having the audacity to investigate l’affaire Navigator.
Brown is then caught flat-footed trying to explain the move to a skeptical media. Brown’s inability to put the story out first himself, with his own spin (“Kwame makes council committees more effective!”), shows a real lack of awareness of how narratives are formed in politics. After all, this shouldn’t have caught Brown off guard; it was his decision that set the whole thing in motion.
Now the story that everyone’s chattering about has Brown playing politics and Wells becoming a good-government martyr. LL can’t help but think that a more sophisticated pol would have found a way to handle this move better.
Then again, maybe there is no good way to spin a major committee reshuffling six months after the last one.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery