Voting Rights Update (Don't Worry, I'll Have Something New Up Later Today)

This morning's Post had an editorial that was just overloaded with disdain towards Republicans for not pushing this legislation forward. Between this and the Post Editorial Board's eagle opus, I'm starting to think that the brain trust on 15th and L isn't quite all it's cracked up to be.

Just look at how this clunker starts:

DON'T BELIEVE...that the decision was put off because of worries that a D.C. voting seat would not pass constitutional muster. At this point, the only plausible explanation for the demise of the bill is that Republican leaders in Congress and the White House oppose democracy for anyone who happens to live in the nation's capital.

I really hate to defend George W. Bush, but leave the White House out of this. I am confused at how this can be blamed on the Executive Branch. Can Bush float from the clouds deux ex machina style and make Congress do his bidding? Maybe two years ago, but not now.

And the Post is being dishonest by claiming that Constitutional worries are implausible. I certainly have my Constitutional worries. Granted there are some scholars who believe this legislation would pass Constitutional muster, but I doubt they're in the majority. Any doubts are legitimate. Please don't call those with gripes anti-democracy. It's hardly fair.

The beauty of the compromise crafted by Mr. Davis and Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city's Democratic nonvoting delegate to the House, was that party politics was taken out of the equation, as two new seats would have been added to Congress -- one for the mostly Democratic District and one for predominantly Republican Utah.

So, the "beauty" of this compromise is that it doesn't really give Washington a vote. It will immediately be canceled out. Brilliant! The simple act of voting does not mean that Washingtonians are fairly being represented. Where else can a people only get the right to vote if its canceled out by another?

So, Post, what advice do you have for the incoming Democratic leadership?

They should make clear that they won't countenance any talk of stripping Utah of its seat, which would kill the deal.

First, would it kill the deal? I mean, Dems will have a majority in the House. It's not like Republicans can filibuster in that chamber. Why wouldn't they want to give Washington a vote while stripping Utah of its phantom extra representative. I'd still be peeved that we wouldn't have any senatorial representation, but it would represent a fair start.

(By the way, some people left comments mocking me for advocating two votes in the Senate for the District. I don't get it. Why is that laughable? Wyoming has less residents than the District and they have two senators. Alaska and Vermont are just barely ahead of us. Each of those states has two Senators. It's crazy that a set of islands in the middle of nowhere has more senatorial representation than the District. So, why can't we have senators?)

The Post continues to act as if democracy only works if it preserves an even fight. That is ludicrous. People have the right to be represented regardless of what balances it maintains or destroys. The Post is not nearly as interested in the District's welfare as it would have you believe. Shame on them.






  2. Hey! All-Caps! Haven't heard from you in a while. How's it been?

  3. Krystal KoonsDecember 08, 2006

    The fact of the matter is, Rusty, you silly goose, that these decisions were made LONG AGO.

    To gerrymander the electorate now would be ridiculous.... I seriously, seriously doubt you'd feel that way if DC was full of Crawford, TX-type republicans.

    We need to all set Rusty The Silly Goose up in a nice, clean group house in northern Virginia and set him straight. Some place with cable and a parking spot. Oh wait, you wouldn't need one of those....

  4. Why are you makung fun of me for not having a car?

    If DC were 90% Neo-Nazi I would support their right to have legislative representation. As I said, it's a not a matter of politics, but a matter of civil rights.

  5. Krystal KoonsDecember 08, 2006

    I'm just busting your silly goose about the car, no offense intended.

    I don't think you've still addressed the points people have made that this is NOT an issue of civil rights b/c DC was the federal city long before we or any of our ancestors moved here. It was intended to be that way when it was set up.

    I am a hypocrite sometimes and I seriously doubt you'd feel that way were DC 90% Neo Nazi. I seriously doubt that.

  6. Rusty:

    If you want to vote for a voting Member of Congress, move to Virginia or Maryland. You knew what the rules were before you moved in from wherever.

    And I am sure that if the DC Delegate is allowed to vote on the House floor, all of the District's problems will be magically wiped away -- murder, crime, corruption, incompetence, rats, overly expensive baseball fields, etc.

  7. lincolnparkerDecember 08, 2006

    Yeah, it's all spelled out in the Constitution: exactly what DC is, what purpose it serves, and EXPLICITLY not made a state.

    Here's why your comparison to Wyoming and Hawaii, etc. is invalid.

    The republic was set up so that individual states would have some degree of autonomy from each other. The country is not called the United State of America. Until after the Civil War (or the War Between the States, the War of Northern Aggression), most people called themselves Marylanders or Virginians or Ohioans, not Americans.

    Point being it was different states joining together under a federal flag for specific purposes like defense and currency.

    DC was created as a federal enclave specifically for the function of the central government. Not a state with it's own autonomy.

    Plenty of folks here remember times before home rule when the feds controlled everything here. Capitol Police jobs were doled out by individual congresssional offices.

    It is what it is. It is what it will be. The federal city.

  8. Stephen ColbairDecember 08, 2006

    ...and that is The Word.

  9. The original purpose of DC is a moot point. I thought I stated my opinion in the last comment thread, but here goes:

    Whatever Washington once was, it is now a mostly autonamous city of 560,000 people. These people are federally taxed without any say on how those dollars are spent. To have 560,000 disenfranchised citizens is totally unacceptable for a republic. I love the grand and noble idea of a federal city, but that idea has been dead in the ground for a while. The amendment to grant the District a say in presidential elections was the start of a movement that hasn't been finished.

    Archduke, the "if you don't like it move" argument wins no points from me. It's not that easy.

  10. I love the grand and noble idea of a federal city, but that idea has been dead in the ground for a while.

    Rusty, I totally agree w/ your opinion that it's not easy to just move somewhere. If money grew on trees, then maybe.

    But your assertion that DC is no longer the federal city is dead wrong. It's your opinion, and not a good one.


  11. Why? Southheast DC is not federal land. Where I live is certainly non-federal. Most importantly, the people who live here are non-federal.

  12. Regardless of my hardcore opinion on voting rights, can we all admit this "compromise" legislation is bullshit?

  13. Rusty, that's a small point. We didn't mean to argue finer points between federal and city land within the "federal city."

    The point is that the city was intended to belong to the country, not urchins who moved there since.

    You're real big on the small points. Like, so what about the difference between the White and the Congressional republicans. I'll bet the brain trust over there at 15th and L would be like, OH MY GOD! Somebody get this man a latte before his pussy explodes!

    The people of DC aren't federal? Then we should deputize 'em! Give 'em a badge to go with their handgun.

  14. lincolnparkerDecember 08, 2006

    Well I think the past has everything to do with the present.

    The fact is, DC is not "autonomous", not in the way i would use that word.

    1. DC owes its entire existence to the federal government. It is there because it was created to serve a function as a certain type of jurisdiction. The same cannot be said of, say, South Dakota.

    2. The population is irrelevant. DC used to be a lot bigger than it is. Perhaps someday it will return to those levels. If it does, it will be because lots of people CHOOSE to move here.

    3. It really is easy for a DC resident to obtain the congressional representation they obsess over. It's easy to move from anacostia to suitland, capitol hill to landover, brookland to hyattsville, and yes, friendship heights to silver spring.

    I'm afraid we're going in circles here, and I don't want to be involved with a third straight thread on this.

    But I realize this is your blog, and I am a guest here, so I'll leave you with this.

    My grandmother was raised on the Hill and married my grandfather in a house near union station. They raised my parents in anacostia. I was born at GW and raised in different hoods in DC and MD.

    At no point in my life have i ever heard anyone in our family express desire for full representation. In fact, after every victory by Marion Barry when hizzoner said "the whites in NW will just have to get over it" my folks would laugh and say -- "there goes statehood for another 20 years."

    This town has a shitload of problems, and lack of two senators to ignore us is way down the list.

  15. The argument that "well this is the way it has always been and so we should just deal with it" is so utterly stupid.

    If the solution were as simple as us all moving to VA or MD, what would be left is a ghost-town of a city between the hours of 5 pm and 8 am. I'm not sure how that benefits anyone, including the people from VA and MD who work in the city.

    Our founding fathers were not perfect. Countless mistakes have been made in setting up this system of government over the last 200+ years, which is why lots of other amendments and laws have been created over the years to correct those mistakes. Leaving 500,000+ people without representation is one of the mistakes that still has not been corrected. There should not be a single inch of land in this country where someone lives without representation. A correction is long overdue.

  16. lincolnparkerDecember 08, 2006

    It's not an argument, and it's not stupid.

    I'm not saying the status quo is good or bad. I'm explaining why it is the way it is and why it will never change.

    It. Will. Never. Change.

    Period. Full stop.

    So yes, you literally have to deal with it or move.

    I also never said "everyone should move."

    Moving is a suggestion for anyone so obsessed, so agitated and distracted by their lack of two Senators that they can barely toast a bagel in the morning.

    In other words, those who can't deal with it.

    I can deal with it the same way I can deal with all the other ass-backwards things that go on here, so I'll stay.

  17. It's a little hopeless to simply say 'it will never change' because it has changed over the 200+ years that the city has been the capitol; there has been slight progress toward some kind of automony. However, I think we should be pushing in the other way: give us full territorial status - if I can't have representation in Congress, and since lord knows the 3 little Democratic votes the District has in the Electoral College don't make much difference to anyone, ususall - then I say take away the presidential vote and home rule and exempt us from federal income tax! Imagine the surge of population growth then!

  18. lincolnparkerDecember 08, 2006

    I agree things have obviously changed around the margins with respect to home rule and electoral votes.

    But I would bet all future earnings for the rest of my life that the District of Columbia, as presently constituted, will never have equal representation as if it were a state.

    I'm with you -- stop taxing me. I believe in Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands they pay SS and Medicare tax. But they seem more or less content with their status so I think it's a good deal.

    If full representation really is the goal of folks here, the only way I can see that happening is retrocession into Maryland akin to the way Arlington/Alexandria did it 160 years or so ago.

    All residential neighborhoods are blended into Maryland. It's not like you notice a huge difference when you cross eastern, southern or western avenue anyway.

    Then you reappropriate the district lines so that "The District of Columbia" stretches basically from the Capitol to Foggy Bottom, encompassing only government office buildings, museums/memorials, and the white house.

    So then the only "residents" would be the first family.

    And they'd be registered to vote elsewhere so even they wouldn't bitch about not having a Senator to write useless letters to.

  19. I live in the DC sewer.
    I have for the last 5 years.
    One magical day I will move out.
    I hope and I pray that this place NEVER EVER gets representation.
    There are 3 types of people here, none of which deserve a vote.
    1.) People that hate DC but forced to be here for job/family reasons and would move out in a nanosecond if they could
    2.) Pretentious assholes.
    3.) Ghetto trash

  20. You may be a transplant, and I may not agree with you on the vast majority of issues, but I never get tired of you making an ass out of Metro, or even voting rights. Sucks that some people just don't understand. Here's to positive reinforcement. Down with idiots.