The big news on Tuesday had everything to do with both Mayor Gray and House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton when a DC Statehood Rally planned for the downtown of Charlotte went afoul of some other unrelated protestors, who ended up occupying the street near their protest and got the whole thing shutdown. Meanwhile, neither Delegate Norton nor Mayor Gray will find themselves anywhere near the stage or the podium during the four-day DNC lovefest ahead of the acceptance speech from President Barack Obama tonight.
The word from John Stanton of Buzzfeed is that the DC Democratic State Committee (DSC) has one of the worst seats in the house in Charlotte, and shows off the view from their wretched seats, and says that the District has found itself off the speakers’ roster, off the platform list (statehood got the boot), and that’s left party politicos in DC quite upset with the national body. Michael Brown said to the Washington Informer: “We all love the Democrats, they stand behind us. But they need to stand in front of us, you know.”
It’s no small wonder that the DNC is keeping their distance from the DC DSC, though, given the quantity of scandal that its elected members in the District have racked up just this year. Between Mayor Gray’s apparent shadow campaign and its attendant convictions, and former Chairman Kwame Brown’s felony bank fraud, and former Councilman Tommy Thomas’ in-progress prison sentence for stealing money from youth sports programs and getting kickbacks to throw a 2009 Inaugural Ball, well, I’d keep us as far as humanly possible from the action, too.
One could look at the star treatment that DC GOP got at the RNC this year as a potential contrast. State School Board member Patrick Mara represented the DC GOP amongst others this year and sent dispatches back to DCist, including this floor shoot near the very front of the stage.
While the DC GOP doesn’t have too many office-holders in the District, it’s not hard to see the potential for inroads, given the local party’s platform of good sense and tolerance that differentiate it from the national GOP on a number of levels. One could even argue that the DC GOP has made strides recently to advance the concept of local budget autonomy, working with Republicans on the DC Affairs subcommittee to work to include language supporting the city’s right to budget for themselves.
“We’re meeting with [Congressman Issa] on a regular basis… on natural Republican issues like Buidget Autonomy. We’re excited about the progress that we’re making,” said DC GOP Executive Director Nick Jeffress this morning by phone.
In fact, one might argue that the DC GOP has seen real results in the movement, as Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has turned toward the concept of local autonomy for the District of Columbia this past Spring.
Are we close to a turning of the tide? Even Jeffress was quick to note that they are a long way from being a competitive party in the District, however, given the scandals of local Democrats, there must be a breaking point somewhere.
The DC GOP has candidates in this fall’s election in just 3 of the 8 local officers, with At-Large Councilmember (Mary Brooks-Beatty), Ward 7 Councilmember (Ron Moten), and Shadow Senator (Nelson Rimensnyder).
If I were DC DSC Chairman Anita Bonds, I might be looking at the (wo)man in the mirror and wondering where exactly things went so very wrong, and wondering what changes are necessary ahead of this November’s election, and the party’s future. While DC will remain staunchly blue this Fall, what good is that if you can’t get the National Party to return your phonecalls on the big issues like Statehood?