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endorsements for the Sept. 9 primary were posted on this Web site. In them, regarding the Democratic shadow senator race, he gave a chilly endorsement to incumbent Paul Strauss, declining to endorse challenger Philip Pannell due to “his record of quitting in a huff every organization he’s ever joined.”
That was an exaggeration and a reference to Pannell’s oft-deployed sense of outrage, which has led in recent years to his separation from groups including D.C. Vote (over Eugene Dewitt Kinlow‘s decision to depart the shadow race), D.C. for Democracy (over a lack of Ward 7 representation among Barack Obama delegates), and the D.C. Democratic State Committee (leading to claims that he was “riding into the sunset” and “done with local politics”). Those are all groups that a shadow senator needs to have effective working relationships with.
Early Thursday morning, while LL was sleeping, Pannell called and left a voice mail. In the morning, when he listened to the message, he heard Pannell in full bloom of outrage, with the Anacostia activist saying he would cease any further communications with LL or City Paper.
LL tried to mend fences with an e-mail, but he received in reply, “What you did goes beyond politics and is nothing more than the destruction of my reputation. You publicly degraded me. Please, please cease any further communication with me.”
As easy as it would be to ascribe such a reaction to that oft-deployed sense of outrage, Pannell has a point.
Pannell has earned better than the one-sentence slam LL dished out. Here’s a guy who has labored tirelessly for decades advocating for east-of-the-river causes, the gay community, and good governance among dysfunctional local Democrats. He’s attended innumerable neighborhood meetings, shown up at just about every political event, and organized countless protests, all with little remuneration. That deserves more respect than what he got from LL this week.
LL isn’t going to change his recommendation—-he still thinks Kinlow, with his unmatched record on voting-rights advocacy, would have been the best choice for the job.
But Pannell’s record isn’t something to be mocked; he has done too much good and has been a pain in the asses of too many people who deserve it. Pannell needs to keep doing what he does—-cataloging those east-of-the-river snubs and hammering the Nationals on their gay-rights record, for instance—-but the shadow senator seat is not the place to do it.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery