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Last weekend, with another D.C. statehood protest underway outside the White House, Washingtonian editor Garrett M. Graff tweeted out some thoughts: “Congress might be more willing to give DC more rights if DC elected people who seemed more worthy of power.”
For a veteran of Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, never mind the editor of a District-based publication, it seemed a strangely undemocratic impulse. Why should Washingtonians’ autonomy be contingent on who D.C. voters elect? No one’s talking about putting Congress in charge of the Illinois whose citizens elected Rod Blagojevich, after all.
So we asked Graff to expound, in more than 140 characters. His response?
My tweeted observation had less to do with voting rights—there’s no reasonable excuse for D.C. residents not to have voting rights—and more to do with the governance issues D.C. faces as a federal district. I do think there’s a certain disconnect when the D.C. Council and mayor’s office complains that Congress treats them like children, when their own behavior seems to indicate that they shouldn’t be trusted with more authority… If the mayor and the city council want to prove they’re capable of governing D.C. without Congress looking over their shoulder, they should strive to be paragons of good governance. This spring especially, I don’t think they’ve met that standard.
Consider yourself chastised, Wilson Building! But don’t worry: If Washingtonian’s disapproval leaves a bruise, the magazine can recommend a plastic surgeon to take care of it.
Screen grab from CNN