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“He is if I let him.”
—Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, May 26
The leitmotif of city politics in 2009 was the emergence of Fenty the Jerk—an arrogant, stubborn, uncommunicative boor who’s anything but accountable. That wasn’t a product so much of any isolated incident, but a narrative that was continuously sharpened by a string of small travails—secret foreign travel, hoarding of baseball tickets, his children’s school enrollment, and so on—and Fenty’s response to them. His knack for turning one-day stories into one-week stories or one-month stories has been preternatural. Take his response to a Washington Post revelation that he was in the habit of letting friend Keith Lomax—a construction-company owner with millions in city contracts—drive him around in his city-owned Lincoln Navigator. When reporter Nikita Stewart asked Fenty whether a non-city-worker was allowed to play chauffeur, Fenty issued the imperial declaration above—just as Richard Nixon once defended his own shenanigans by saying, “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” At least when Nixon said that, he wasn’t in office anymore.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery