Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Our Poll Rules Edition

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Good afternoon, sweet readers! Washington City Paper's Politics issue drops today. And boy is it a doozy. First off, we unleash a poll showing Vincent Gray 11 points ahead of Adrian Fenty. But the poll, which we did jointly with the good folks at WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi Show, goes well beyond who is likely to win the mayor's race. It's also a snapshot of where D.C.'s head is at. For instance: the Washington Redskins can't even claim to be the favorite team of the majority of those polled (wanna reverse that, try winning). And is anyone actually using all those new bike lanes? Our poll says not really, but if you are riding to work, you're more like to support Fenty. Be sure and check out all the cross tabs. Hours of amusement awaits!

This week's paper also includes CP endorsement of Fenty for a second term, saying he's the right jerk for the job. (Loyal readers might remember that previous LL's have endorsed political candidates; this LL does not, but does think they all deserve to lose.) Whether you agree with CP's choice for mayor, you must agree that this is the best written endorsement of the season (and LL isn't just saying it because his bosses wrote it. Well, maybe.) The crux of the argument is this: Gray hasn't proven he's got what it takes from letting the city's bureaucracy slide back into the bad old days when a trip to the DMV was worse than passing kidney stones; Fenty, for all his flaws, has. LL has a few quibbles with it, including the idea that the only way to reform the school system is to "go monomaniacal or go home" and that the investigation into whether Fenty's pals ripped off taxpayers is an "absurdly overhyped scandal." Disagree! But LL didn't write it, so he should shut his mouth. CP also gives a (very reluctant) nod to Vincent Orange for council chairman over Kwame Brown. The rest of the slate: Phil Mendelson, Bryan Weaver, Mary Cheh, Kenyan McDuffie, Tommy Wells, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Mike Panetta.

Want more?! Well check out LL's latest column, which makes the point that if the likely Fenty loss happens, beware all those news articles trying to find the bigger meaning in the loss. Because at the end of the day one of the biggest reasons for a Fenty loss will be the craptastic campaign he ran. And the biggest reason for running a crappy campaign is that Fenty had was too much faith in his own ability to be a mayor, candidate, and campaign manager all at the same time.

Jonetta Rose Barras describes what the "1985 syndrome" is and how the Gray camp is suffering from it. "Fenty isn’t in trouble because of any failure to produce tangible results. Rather, his numbers have declined because some residents believe their mayor should be the parent of wayward children, an employment placement agent, a union organizer, a border guard preventing the advance of white suburbanites, and a community pastor, laying on hands under revival tents."

But, wait, there's still more great stuff: like this awesome map by Michael E. Grass that maps the places in the city that shaped Fenty and Gray's lives, Jason Cherkis laments that real issues like poverty and homelessness take a backseat to go-go and frat bros, Rend Smith looks at how Fenty is like Marion Barry in his courting of the go-go vote, Lydia DePillis reports on little Ethiopia growing up,  Dave McKenna reports on the loss of political relevance by the city's soccer lovers, and Tim Carman (who has the best kicker of this issue) writes about where pols need to eat if they want to win.

AFTER THE JUMP: Is Fenty buying votes?; Gray's mixed record at DHS; Union power ...

Is Fenty Buying Votes?: It sure looks that way from this TBD report, which has 19-year-old Rudolph Williams saying he was told he'd get a job with the Fenty campaign in exchange for his vote. Fenty flak Sean Madigan says it's not true, but the report has some pretty damning evidence: a recorded phone call from a Fenty staffer responding to the Williams call asking him about the job he was promised in exchange for his vote. "Unfortunately I understand how you feel. I had plenty of calls like this today. And they had to stop at a certain number because they had too many people." That's. Really. Bad. So, maybe, as Madigan suggested to LL this morning, the Fenty aide who answered the phone didn't catch the part where Williams specifically said he was calling about getting a job in exchange for a vote and thought he was just asking for a job. But this isn't the first vote-buying allegation and you'd expect Fenty to be real aggressive in making sure this kind of stuff isn't happening right? Well, Hizzoner was fired up this morning when he met with reporters, saying there isn't any "specific" allegation that he can act upon, and he would much prefer to talk about important issues, thank you very much. Yeah right. This story is hot, hot, hot.The Gray campaign wants the FBI to stop looking for Osama Bin Laden (Seriously, it's been almost nine years!) and investigate. DeBonis says a big money campaign is ripe for vote-buying accusations, and TBD is all over the story like stink on poop.

Vince's Mixed Bag: Back on Sunday, Aug. 29, when the Post poll came out showing Fenty was screwed, he summoned reporters to come meet him so he could discuss the results. Fenty whined to reporters that the media hadn't done a good job looking at Gray's record and that Fenty now expected them to since Gray was the clear front-runner. Well, if he was hoping for a last-minute knock-out punch in the form of a damning story about Gray's tenure as head of the Department of Human Services during the 90s, Fenty ought to be disappointed by this triple bylined story from the Post's Ann Marimow, Henri Cauvin, and Tim Craig. The story paints a picture of Graybot the well-meaning bureaucrat doing his best in a near hopeless situation. "In interviews with more than two dozen former and current activists, lawyers and government officials, however, most said that Gray—now the D.C. Council chairman—delivered incremental progress at DHS and that he was a hands-on manager who cared for those whom the department sought to help. But Gray, whose service as DHS director was bookended by administrations of four-term mayor Marion Barry (D), did not transform an agency that by all accounts needed nothing less. He did not make significant, lasting changes, according to observers, in part because his ambitions were no match for the deep-rooted fiscal and political challenges of governing the District during the national recession of the early 1990s." LL says Fenty ought to not be too pleased with the story because it doesn't give anything real meaty for Gray opponents to sink their teeth into. But he was trying his hardest this morning to make the story out to be some bombshell.

Vince Can Run:The Post's Robert McCartney offers a nice counterweight to LL's column, saying Gray is in a good spot to win because he has a deft political touch.

Tea Party candidate? The Examiner's Mark Tapscott argues that Fenty is the Tea Party's kind of guy (take that TBD).

Labor unions really want Gray to win. [Examiner]

Funny picture of Gray [Georgetown Dish]

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley calls Fenty "effective and capable" but doesn't endorse D.C.'s mayor. [Examiner]

Phil Mendelson's new campaign mailer: It "probably should have been thought through a little more." [DCist]

  • incredulous

    Great column, LL, a gusher after some lesser flows.

    Jonetta writes:
    "Rather, [Fenty's] numbers have declined because some residents believe their mayor should be the parent of wayward children, an employment placement agent....."

    Well, Fenty's public Michelle, the one he supports and not the other way around, that Rhee woman, has been breaking teachers' chops since arriving for disavowing responsibility for "raising the achievement of all children to the highest level," including Jonetta's wayward ones. And Fenty's proud that Rhee's got the union contract that will pay $40K bonus to every teacher who does. So help her G-d, and bust-the-budget-if-they-all-do.

    As for employment placement: Summer Youth Employment is among the programs Fenty is most proud of.

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