Loose Lips

Shocker: Post “Enthusiastically” Endorses Fenty

In what they called an "easy choice," the Washington Post editorial board is "enthusiastically" endorsing Mayor Adrian Fenty's re-election campaign over D.C. Chairman Vincent Gray.

This endorsement, of course, isn't much of a surprise.  The knock on the editorial board around the Wilson Building is that they are so far in the tank for DCPS Chancellor Michelle  Rhee that they would endorse Charlie Manson to keep her around.

Indeed, Gray's refusal to say what he'd do as mayor with Rhee strongly irks the Post. While Fenty, in their view, has balls of steel for supporting her:

The courage he showed in fighting for mayoral control of the public schools—and then standing behind Ms. Rhee unflinchingly—cannot be overstated. Imagine any other incumbent allowing his schools chief to fire hundreds of underperforming employees just weeks away from an election that will decide his political future.

Most important, that dedication has delivered results: Schools are improving. Test scores are up, student enrollment has stabilized, an innovative teachers contract is being implemented and school buildings have never been in better shape. For thousands of children whose futures depend on the District's schools, it would be tragic to slow down now

The endorsement goes on in much the same gushing way. There is an obligatory spanking, in which the Post says Hizzonner raised "unsettling questions about his judgment" with those "suspect" contracts with his friends, his secret travels, and his unwillingness to listen to anyone whose initials aren't P.N. (though you won't actually find the words "Peter Nickles" anywhere in the editorial). But all in all, it's a slam dunk for Fenty. If one were to guess how the race was going based solely on this editorial, one might guess that Fenty is running away with it.

Then there's the question of timing. The election is still eons away (okay, a month and a half, but it feels like eons). Whatever boost this gives Fenty, the question is whether it'll last for six weeks. Of course, the Post could always pull an Examiner, which endorsed John McCain twice in 2008—and probably will. It's easy to imagine this as the first in a series of editorials looking at different issues (like school reform, and how to reform the schools, and just how perfect Rhee is for the task of leading school reform).

How much of a boost this gives Fenty is an open question. LL thinks it's fair to assume that most people whose views might be swayed by the Post editorial board were probably Fenty voters already. And the Post's power in electing pols is a mixed bag (anybody remember how the Post dragged Creigh Deeds into the Virginia primary, only to see him get shellacked by Bob McDonnell?).

Gray strategist Mo Elleithee says Team Gray isn't surprised by the editorial, but is glad they at least mentioned some of the mayor's shortcomings.

As for the writing, LL enjoys his editorials on the dry side—haughty, aloof, deliberative, and detached in an Economist kind of way that makes you feel that the editorial writer is clearly your intellectual superior. This editorial doesn't fit that mold. Instead of the "Voice of God" moniker past Post editorials have earned, this one comes across as the "Voice of the True Believer."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Mr. Bigglesworth

    "There is no such ambiguity in Mr. Fenty and his take-charge, do-it-now approach"

    Must have been a typo; did WaPo mean to write "do-it-now-by-giving-your-unprofessional-inexperienced-buddies-an-inflated-no-bid-contract approach" ???

    Fenty is vindictive, corrupt, disloyal and untrustworthy; he has absolutely been the bizarro version of the candidate he claimed to be when he went knocking on every door. He does not care what people want, think or need. He only cares about himself. A public SERVANT he is not. Even a good portion of the staffers in his administration dislike and distrust him.

    That said, the comment that Gray's only prevalent campaign theme is that he is anti-Fenty is not too far from the mark...but I would rather have someone without a firm plan established than someone who pushes on with BAD PLANS.

  • Indeed


    I think the Post also meant "do-it-now by giving friends who can't pass their engineering exams licenses approach."

    Also, Fenty doesn't have a plan, doesn't like plans, and doesn't think that he needs them. He's the George W. Bush type who likes to shoot from the hip and go with his gut.

  • Lets Get Real

    Not that standardized tests are an accurate measure of what our children are learning in schools, but let's at least be honest about it. Test scores are NOT up. Test scores went down in DC this year, across the board. Even top schools like Lafayette and Janney didn't make AYP this year.

    Get rid of Fenty, and send Rhee packing with him.

  • Isn’t It Obvious

    King Fenty is nothing more that an arrogant, self-centered, self-aggrandizing, attention whore surrounded by sycophants. Calling him an idiot would be an insult to idiots. He makes George W. Bush seem scholarly.

    The reason he does not show up to candidate forum is because people will see how inarticulate and ignorant he really is. The least exposure, the less chance of him opening mouth and inserting foot. I hope that he continues to do a no show so that people can finally see, just as the Post indicated, that he does not care about any other opinion [on the issues] other than Peter Nickles. If there is a close second, it is Michelle Rhee, the School Czar (or the Fuehrer (also spelled Führer) as I usually refer to her.

    In the past, I have compared and referred to Fenty as Bush and Peter Nickles as Cheney. However, I have come to believe that Peter Nickles is a combination of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney (wouldn't that make him a Roving Dick?) - Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!!!

    I can not wait for all of their a$$es to be shown the door in September. A new slogan, since both Fenty and Rhee like to fire people, could be "Fire Fenty!" C'mon DC shout it out "Fire Fenty!" Fire Fenty! Fire Fenty!

    Note: Any use of the phrase "Fire Fenty" is the property of Isn't It Obvious. Any political PAC or other entity or organization seeking it's use has to request and receive permission from Isn't It Obvious.

  • Trulee Pist

    Over at WaPo, the editorial board is hosting a forum on the topic of their surprise, breathless endorsement of The Big City Mayor.

    Unfortunately for them, some dim bulb commenter named Jo-Ann Armao weighed in with this clunker:

    Not just the Post board thinks there's been progress
    posted at 7/30/2010 3:43 PM EDT
    First post: 1/27/2009
    Last post: 7/30/2010
    Total posts: 29 it is not just the opinion of the board that the city is headed in the right direction. Consider the poll done by the Post this year that showed city residents giving high ratings to their neighborhoods and the quality of key city services. The ratings were the highest of any of the polling done by the Post over the past 20 years.
    Here is what the news story said at the time:
    "Residents give broadly positive marks to the police department and the quality of parks and recreation facilities. Most parents continue to see major problems in the city's public schools, but those views have eased noticeably. More than half of residents see the city as heading in the right direction, a significantly more bullish view than before Fenty's 2006 election."

    Of course, the lede paragraph on that very same story read:
    "Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's approval rating has plummeted over the past two years, with support eroding in all parts of the city and across demographic groups, particularly among African Americans, according to a new Washington Post poll."

    Poor WaPo editorial board. They are burdened with such lame, possibly even pernicious and dishonest, commenters.

  • candycane1

    Gray doesn't need to say what he would do with Rhee. She has already said it. Her usual foot in mouth style has exposed her need to promote self as opposed to the "committment" of DC's children. While I agree that test scores are not the only measurement of achievement, it is appalling that the public is subjected to "we had a dip in scores". Every parent, every taxpayer has the right to know the school by school scores to really see the dip in scores. The school year is about to begin, yet the scores for 2010 are not being provided. If this is a campaign strategy it will fail as well. The public should be screaming for the scores especially since education and support for Rhee is based on academic achievement. A "dip" in scores just doesn't cut it.

  • Sally

    So Rhee = Hitler?


    One City, indeed.

  • Indeed


    Did Gray equate Rhee to Hitler? If so, where?

  • Mike P

    My list of reasons I think we should send Fenty packing:

    After 10 years of increasing school test scores, scores declined last year
    Fixing schools requires more than just a Diva firing “ineffective” teachers
    Fenty has awarded his fraternity brothers illegal contracts that they were unqualified for
    Fenty arrived into office with a huge budget surplus that he has turned into a large deficit
    He has depleted our Rainy Day Funds so he could open $400k dog parks and heat his favorite swimming pool
    He leaves the country without telling anyone or leaving any one as custodian of the DC government
    His personality: Arrogant, selfish, lack of compassion
    He is unwilling to hear any different opinion and anyone that doesn’t agree with him
    Fenty doesn’t consult with the community on ANYTHING.
    Fenty has not held ONE news conference since becoming Mayor. Not one.
    Fenty misses community meetings and simply says he “couldn’t make it happen”
    When asked about a triple homicide, Fenty says “it could have been worse”
    Fenty refuses to hand over any government records- has worst record of responding to Freedom of Information Act requests
    Fenty is unable to play well with others- refuses to give City Council tickets to Nationals game
    Fenty lead a sketchy donation of firetrucks to the Dominican Republic. Don’t we need them?
    Fenty has a poor record on juvenile justice and public safety- Kids that were in custody murdered DC Principal Brian Betts.