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A Step Backward for D.C. Voting Rights

People who don't watch the sad saga of D.C. voting rights closely get all excited when the Democrats are in power because they think the Dems are the natural allies of District residents and will surely move to give Washingtonians their birthright and let them elect a member of Congress.

But that's not how it works, and House Democrats showed once again last week what they really think of the District. In a move calculated to make it appear as if the Dems really do care about D.C. voting rights, the House voted to let the non-voting delegate from D.C. cast a vote anytime it doesn't matter. That is, the delegate will be permitted to vote on amendments to bills--if and only if the margin of victory in the vote is large enough so that the D.C. vote would not alter the outcome. In other words, if and only if the D.C. vote is utterly meaningless.

As symbolic gestures go, this one would be harmless enough if it didn't also make it vastly more difficult for any real voting rights reform to come out of the House. But it does. Washington is now lumped together with Guam, American Samoa and Puerto Rico in the "here, have some nice bread crumbs" cluster of colonies that Congress treats like second-class citizens. But District residents don't belong to that neither here nor there crew of territories; rather, D.C. residents pay their full share of taxes and bear all of the responsibilities of citizenship, yet have no voice in making the laws that govern them.

And the silly sop Washingtonians were tossed last week makes it far less likely that Rep. Tom Davis's initiative to grant the District a voting seat in the House will now pass. Davis, a Republican from Fairfax, last week implored the House not to lump Washington with those colonial vestiges:

"To the cynic in me, this resolution smacks of obfuscation. What the majority is doing today threatens to delay action on the real injustice that has plagued the District for more than two centuries.... This resolution mixes the interests of D.C. -- the Federal District, the capital of the free world -- with those of the territories. This mushy thinking is what has led to nearly 200 years of no representation for District residents.

"It's confusing. It allows Members to "check a box" that in reality is not being checked.

"Still, it's tempting to support this, if only to get more members of Congress acclimated to voting to expand representation for District residents. But this is a sham, Mr. Speaker, and I won't be part of it. I can't condone grandstanding and symbolism when real reform is so easily within our grasp."

Davis's pleas went unheeded. And now House Democrats can pat themselves on the back and tell us all that they've done something to boost D.C. voting rights. They haven't.

By Marc Fisher |  January 30, 2007; 7:31 AM ET
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Comments

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Read the f***ing Constitution, delegates are elected by the "states". The District is not a state, hence no delgate. They have no "birthright" to a representative, they simply don't. The Framers were perfectly clear, when they wrote "the people" they meant individuals; when they wrote "the states" they meant the 50 states; if they'd have wanted the District to have a vote they'd have given them one. If the District wants a vote then let them ask permission of 2/3 of the States to have it.

Posted by: Stick | January 30, 2007 8:09 AM

The biggest sham here is Tom Davis' purported support for DC voting rights. The man doesn't have a principled bone in his body, and his cynical attempts to use the issue to portray himself as a moderate, bi-partisan member of Congress is belied by his voting record.

Those who care about getting the District representation in Congress would have been better served by getting a champion who actually believes in fair representation and access to government. Instead, they rely on a man who is one of the architects of the most cynical, partisan periods in Congressional history. Someone who believes in gerrymandering, money-driven politics, poll-driven leadership, and special interest access. And then you wonder why the rest of his colleagues roll their eyes when he gets on a soap-box and rails about democracy. . .

Get someone who is consistent on these issues, raises them with a passion and belief that is compelling, and you might have a shot. With Davis as your poster child, this is a non-starter.

Posted by: Not Tom Davis | January 30, 2007 8:36 AM

Sorry you live in DC you shouldnt even have a member of Congress. And that emmebr should never be allowed to vote. And if you dont like it move. Why change a good thing! The Congress should vote to go back to good old days when they controlled DC.
Yes DC residents are second class citizens too bad. If you dont like it move. Take control of your lives!

Posted by: vaherder | January 30, 2007 8:37 AM

What has Tom Davis done that is unprincipled?

Posted by: Logan | January 30, 2007 8:40 AM

Why the hostility to equal representation? And why is it always this argument that if you don't like it, move? We don't like it and we want it changed! When I moved to DC from Colorado, I literally moved to the only place on earth where I lost my right to representation in the Senate and House. If I had moved overseas or anywhere else, I would have retained my right to vote absentee. There is just something wrong about that scenario. The constitution needs to be changed or DC needs to become part of Maryland again.

Posted by: Mark | January 30, 2007 8:44 AM

It doesn't matter whether or not the DC rep gets a vote and they add a rep to UT. That will be challenged and voted down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. The Founding Fathers purposefully denied DC the representation in Congress to prevent a conflict of interest.

Americans are such idiots - if any one would bother to read the words of the Founding Fathers they would be educated to why this will never happen.

Posted by: Jeff Jarrett | January 30, 2007 8:45 AM

DC has no more right to Congressional representation than Pluto has a right to be a planet. Pluto will always be a dog and DC will always be a District.

Posted by: Pocomoke | January 30, 2007 9:00 AM

As far as all of this talk that it is actually a good thing that the residents of DC don't get a vote, couldn't you imagine the outcry if we would have went into Iraq and told the residents of Baghdad that they couldn't vote? People would be outraged and they would be correct in doing so. I do not live in DC, but I do believe in the concept of no taxation without representation. We should either give DC the full rights of statehood or remove the obligations of statehood, instead of making DC residents get the worst of both worlds.

Posted by: Steve | January 30, 2007 9:01 AM

What was the position of Eleanor Holmes Norton on this matter?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 9:06 AM

I think that giving DC delegate Norton the vote in the Committee of the Whole is fine but it should have come with a strong statement from Hoyer and Pelosi about support for a full vote and a date when the Davis/Norton legislation will be taken up on the floor. I agree that we don't owe the Democrats any thanks for this as it was only a return to something that existed years ago. Not really a step forward.

I still give Pelosi the benefit of the doubt that she will do something real here. I would be greatly dissappointed in her if she doesn't.

Posted by: peter | January 30, 2007 9:10 AM

The more important question is what has Tom Davis done that IS principled? As far as unprincipled -- it's a long list. You can start with his quiet support of the anti-gay amendment in Virginia. His stated reason: he is "old-fashioned on marriage." Are you kidding me?

Posted by: Hunh? | January 30, 2007 9:10 AM

Marc, I have lived in the District for 16 years and you are so right. Meanwhile, for purely political reasons, statehood for DC will not happen in my lifetime or the next generation's. It's just too bad that the one solution that has any chance of getting voting rights for DC residents almost never comes up in conversation: retrocession. Returning most of Washington, DC to Maryland (just as Alexandria and Arlington were retroceded to Virginia), with only a small core of the mall, monuments, and federal buildings remaining as the federal district, would be hard for Congress to oppose if the residents and leaders of the District of Columbia fell behind it. Instead they have fixated on the impossible dream of statehood.

Posted by: John B. -- Washington, DC | January 30, 2007 9:12 AM

I don't understand why the Democratically controlled Congress has suddenly decided to lump DC voting rights in with places like Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, etc. They are all very different cases. Puerto Rico has repeatedly turned down the opportunity to become a state, not have a Congressional vote is one of the consequences. Residents of Samoa do not pay federal taxes. Should their representative be allowed to vote in favor of taxing me? I don't believe there is any great clamoring for federal voting rights anywhere but DC--let's deal with that issue alone. I'm sure there are plenty of other writings by the Framers that can give some clue as to their long-term intent for the District. I believe Hamilton thought it should have federal representation at the time it reached the population of a state. Hamilton, though not a Constitutional signer, was involved enough in its creation to have his opinion considered.

Posted by: Tim C | January 30, 2007 9:14 AM

Steve,

Wrong analogy. Could you imagine the outcry in Iraq if their Constitution denied the vote to residents of Baghdad but we suspended their Constitution on the grounds of "taxation with representation?"

Those of us who live in DC chose to live here. Some of are glad not to have Representatives or Senators and we appreciate the Constitutional protection against them.

Taxation without representation is no worse than taxation with representation. The rub is in the taxation and we would probably have more of it with a few more DC Senators and Representatives, thank you.

Posted by: KK | January 30, 2007 9:16 AM

hey vaherder, you sound like those jackasses who tell people if they don't like the US, they should just leave. have you ever heard of fighting to fix the wrongs in places that you love? go jump off a bridge or play in traffic, the world would be a better place without your stupidity in it.

Posted by: imgoph | January 30, 2007 9:17 AM

No Federal Taxation.

Posted by: Obvious Solution | January 30, 2007 9:20 AM

Its the messenger. This is an issue that is uninteresting to anyone outside the DC Metropolitan area. To make it something important in Congress, it would take someone who: a) matters on the Hill; or b) brings it before Congress in a way that moves members to care.

Unfortunately, Tom Davis offers neither. The only people on the Hill who care what Tom Davis thinks are the partisan Republicans who are about to receive his fundraising largess from his new position as Chair of the Executive Committee of the NRCC. Otherwise, he is an irrelevant leftover of the DeLay Congress. He is on the down-slope of calculated career that does not give him the gravitas to make the type of argument this issue would need to get the attention of Congress. While the Post and its writers adore Davis for whatever reason, most in Washington know Davis for what he is and don't pay any attention to his posturing or manuvers.

Posted by: Reality | January 30, 2007 9:25 AM

This is egregious. Regardless of the definition of a District, the people of DC are NOT represented and they ARE taxed. If you're against them having a vote, you're anti-american.

Posted by: tampadave | January 30, 2007 9:26 AM

KK, why in the world would you be glad NOT to have representation in Congress?

Posted by: AH | January 30, 2007 9:30 AM

It was interesting to see George Will highlight the 'voting representation for NOT-states' in his column this week.

While Marc is correct that DC is lumped with American Samoa, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam -- Mr. "I helped prep Ronnie for the debates with the stolen briefing book" George Will conveniently left off the 500,000 people living in DC when he went through the list of reasons why residents of the colonies did not deserve representation.

Just another upset disenfranchised DC resident.

Posted by: bogus | January 30, 2007 9:31 AM

tampadave,

Can you explain why the Founding Fathers drafted a Constitution -- and the States ratified -- a Federal District without a vote and with taxation?

Adams, Madison, Jefferson, et al., were anti-American?

Posted by: KK | January 30, 2007 9:33 AM

KK, what do you mean by a constitutional protection against senators and representatives? From what, exactly, do we need protection? Even if I were one of those "all government is bad government" types (which I'm not, nor do I mean to imply that you are), I would want someone legislating on my behalf instead of a Congress where my interests were not represented.

Posted by: Columbia Heights, DC | January 30, 2007 9:41 AM

The Founding Fathers envisioned Washington DC as a Federal City. It was supposed to be inhabited part-time, only while Congress was in session. I mean, who in their right mind would live in Washington in July and August?? Since the majority of the residents were directly connected to the government, and also owned property elsewhere, it made sense at the time to declare it an administrative district distinct from the States. Voting rights weren't an issue then, as you had to be male, be white, and own land in order to vote.

That reality has changed. There are now hundreds of thousands of people living in the District proper. The United States of America holds that all people are created equal, so whether or not I own a hunting lodge in West Virginia, I should be allowed to have a say in the running of my government. "Government for the people, by the people..." Does that ring a bell?

Remember, we once went to war over the issue of taxation without representation.

Posted by: WDC | January 30, 2007 9:45 AM

I think the debate here is exactly backwards.

Instead of complaining that they should get one seat in the House and two in the Senate, DC residents should be working on eliminating their federal taxes. I mean, who WOULDN'T want to trade their laregely useless congressional representantives for a tax-free April 15?!?!

You want to revitalize the District and make it a place where more people want to live? Make it free of federal taxes. I bet within a year the District will become a great success instead of the dysfunctional entity it is now.

Posted by: Goaltender66 | January 30, 2007 9:45 AM

Just a reminder to everyone:

Some of us are actually from DC. I was born at Sibley hospital and lived here most of my life. I didnt choose to move here; this is home and it always has been home. Kinda hard to blame it on me now.

Posted by: the cheat | January 30, 2007 9:49 AM

WDC said "Remember, we once went to war over the issue of taxation without representation. "

OH MY GOD!!! DC is going to rise up and start a war over this. HA! You have no guns.

DC needs to be split into 3 sections.
Section 1: Residential section to the west becomes part of Montgomery County
Section 2: Residential section to the east becomes part of PG County
Section 3: Non-residential middle - offices, government, schools, etc, remains a Federally controlled district - no residents allowed.

Posted by: Oh man | January 30, 2007 9:52 AM

I can't imagine how anyone could oppose DC representation. It is a fundamental principle of democracy that people have a right to vote for their leaders. America was founded on this principle, that it was unjust for the British Parliament to set laws for Americans when Americans could not vote for representatives in Parliament. It is tyranny, pure and simple. DC should be given full statehood - the only reason it's not getting that is because it's overwhelmingly Democratic and some legislators care more about power than democracy.

Posted by: Noam | January 30, 2007 9:54 AM

I would like to offer a solution that does not violate the Consitution and gives DC representation: Every 2 years, DC residents will cast their votes with a Representative (and Senators) from a randomly selected state and congressional district. To add to the drama, that selection could be made at the last minute, so every COngress person would have to campaign here, and suck up to the city full time. The half a million votes in DC could swing any race, and puts every Congressperson at DCs bidding.

Posted by: bkp | January 30, 2007 9:58 AM

um, stick & others using the constitution in arguing against dc voting rights, i am no constitutional scholar, but from i have read about the district and the constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, which calls for a federal district, states that it is to be no more than 10 square miles.

DC is about 68 square miles and has upwards of 600,000 residents.

Posted by: another person with no representation | January 30, 2007 9:59 AM

Oh man - could you draw up a map of what you're proposing? what do you mean by "schools" being part of the "non-residential middle"? aren't schools part and parcel of residential life? would you have little enclaves of non-Maryland space in the middle of everything once you've balkanized DC? like, Wilson High wouldn't be in Montgomery County or something? sounds like a not-well-thought-out bad idea

Posted by: imgoph | January 30, 2007 9:59 AM

Anyone (like the so called "vaherder") who longs for the days when DC was run by three stooge commissioners, and southern segregationist chairmen of the House DC Committee who neglected and ignored the vast majority of this city's population for decades, is a troll to be ignored.

And stop defending the Constitution as it was written 220 years ago. The drafters could not have imagined that their efforts would subsequently disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people just to give Congress some power.

Denying DC the right to a voting representation in Congress puts the lie to the hypocrisy of a country that loves to preen and talk about freedom nonstop to the world. Correct it NOW. Full stop.

Posted by: dirrtysw | January 30, 2007 10:04 AM

"WDC said "Remember, we once went to war over the issue of taxation without representation. "

OH MY GOD!!! DC is going to rise up and start a war over this. HA! You have no guns."

No, you idiot. AMERICANS rose up and went to war. Remember them? Americans? Folks who fought for what they believed in? Superpower my foot. It's the final days of Rome around here.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 10:05 AM

Instead of Balkanizing the District, it should become part of Maryland as "Columbia County" with the Federal District consisting of the Mall and the Federal buildings downtown. The District is not, and should not, be considered a state...it is a city.

Posted by: One more for retrocession | January 30, 2007 10:17 AM


"10 square miles"--the constitution states 10 miles square, meaning 10 miles on a side or a 100 square miles, which it was before parts in Virginia receded.

If there were retrocession, it would be much easier to declare DC a municipality/county in and of itself with a mayor and council like it has now than parceling out parts to PG and Mont. Cos.

Posted by: pete | January 30, 2007 10:20 AM

Even in the best scenario offered we would get one rep in the House, one rep in the House is completely meaningless. I say keep your rep. and we will keep the $8 billion in federal taxes, if they want to lumb us in with American Samoa then treat us like American Samoa and stop the federal taxation.

Posted by: Keep your meaningless rep | January 30, 2007 10:31 AM

The most amusing part of all of this is the jealousy and hate of the gasbag commenters who live outside of DC and post anti-Washington vitriol on the Washington Post off all places. They come for fireworks or games at RFK and spend the rest of their days lobbing pathetic bombs about how DC isn't a "real state" anyway. Whatever DC is, I'd rather have my life in it than the wannabe lives available in traffic-clogged suburbs teeming with ill-mannered, fat, spoiled children and their myopic parents, plenty of whom follow only the almighty command of material accumulation and excess to the point of bulging arteries, vehicles, McMansions and egos.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 10:39 AM

By my count, the citizens of DC are already represented in this government. They elect three electors who represent them in selecting the President. That may not be as much representation as some residents feel they deserve, but the old "No Taxation Without Representation" mantra sounds less compelling when it translates to "No Taxation Without Over-Representation Similar to What the Least Populous States Enjoy." The legacy of the bicameral compromise between large and small states essentially means that residents in any two states do not enjoy the same level of representation. DC may be at the bottom of the list, but so what? Somebody has to be. Until we are talking about eliminating all the disparities, I have very little sympathy for any argument that DC residents "deserve" more. I deserve not to be funding farm subsidies for big empty square states, but I don't see that as rising to the level of a Declaration of Independence.

Posted by: Taxation With Over-Representation | January 30, 2007 10:45 AM

KK, if you want to be "freed from Congressman and Senators," why choose to live in the place where they all work? If you want to go where there is no representation, I'm sure that there are plenty of places the world over that will offer you this "liberation" from representative government that you desire so very, very much. DC should either be declared the State of Columbia or retrofitted into Maryland, but there should be some way for the people who live in our nation's capital to vote. My head is still spinning from "taxation without representation is just as bad as taxation with representation." I guess someone didn't pay attention in history class.

Posted by: Steve | January 30, 2007 10:49 AM

To the 10:39 poster, the fireworks are set off by the National Park Service on the National Mall. That's federal property, not DC. Get your facts straight.

Posted by: Tourist | January 30, 2007 10:51 AM

Is DC a net positive or negative to the federal treasury each year? It seems to me that the people arguing for the American Samoa treatment are forgetting that DC takes a whole lot of funding out of the federal treasury every year. How much would DC taxes have to go up (or would they go down) if the district had to raise all that revenue itself?

Posted by: No "net" federal tax for DC? | January 30, 2007 10:53 AM

Tom Davis will be the next Senator in VA after John Warner retires. Who are the Dems going to run against him Brian Moron I'm sorry Moran or Mark Warner. Warner ahs a chance but Moran is too liberal for the rest of the state. Only reason Allen won his seat initially was because he was facing the coke head womanizing Robb. ANd now we are stock with Webb as our senator who was the worse SECNAV ever. He was aksed to resign. Allen campaign missed this. At least Davis has a brain something Allen never had. And his lovely wife will take his seat. And DC was better run in the good ole days even when in bred white racists ran it. What Tom should have said if gays want to marry so be it they will only make lawyers richer.

Posted by: vaherder | January 30, 2007 10:55 AM

Maryland doesn't want DC. Retrocession is not on the table.

Posted by: tallbear | January 30, 2007 10:59 AM

"Whatever DC is, I'd rather have my life in it than the wannabe lives available in traffic-clogged suburbs teeming with ill-mannered, fat, spoiled children and their myopic parents, plenty of whom follow only the almighty command of material accumulation and excess to the point of bulging arteries, vehicles, McMansions and egos"

-No one has ever said it better. Soul-crushing suburbs is the only thing I could add. I do love not having to choose between 3 different crappy chain restaurants for dinner.

Posted by: 13th S.E. | January 30, 2007 11:07 AM

"By my count, the citizens of DC are already represented in this government. They elect three electors who represent them in selecting the President."

That's the executive branch. The President represents (or fails to represent) everyone in the nation. Your legislative branch representatives are the ones who have specific constituencies to answer to.

Did you know that many members of Congress are following the tally of constituents who have weighed in on a certain issue, right up the moment of the vote? John McCain, say what you will, calls his office from the floor to ask his staff what the pro/con numbers are from his constituents who have expressed an opinion on the matter.

It's a different function of government, and to say that DC residents should be happy that we get to vote for president betrays a profound lack of understanding of the system.

There's no such thing as "over-representation". There is only equal representation, and we ain't got it.

Posted by: WDC | January 30, 2007 11:08 AM

"To the 10:39 poster, the fireworks are set off by the National Park Service on the National Mall. That's federal property, not DC. Get your facts straight."

Hey Tourist, get your facts straight.

Plenty of people watching fireworks in DC do it from DC property, and use DC streets to get where they are going.

Metropolitan police can even make arrests on federal property, so the nitpicking over what is federal property in this particular case is just an attempt to downplay our right to representation in Congress.

Posted by: the cheat | January 30, 2007 11:16 AM

I'm against D.C. statehood, if only because it's bad enough to have all these little states with their overrepresentation, and, frankly, those calling for District statehood seem really greedy to me. More people live on the lower half of Manhattan than in the District, but they have to share their Senators with the rest of New York--the Senate is bad enough already with Wyoming and Vermont, thank you. However, I'd be for retrocession if it were remotely possible--I do think they deserve a right to vote, just not for their own representatives in Congress--they should share with their neighbors to the Northwest.

Problem is, I'm not sure either is Constitutional. The Constitution gives Congress the power "[t]o exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever" over the District--notably it gives this power not over the area that *is* the District, but the area that *"may become"* the District. Once it became the District, I think that's irreversible.

That would prohibit Congress from granting it statehood under Article IV (since Congress would have to retain all control and couldn't guarantee a republican form of government--as all other states having control over the 51st is hardly republican) and it would prohibit Congress from giving it back to Maryland (and retroactively prevent it from giving Alexandria County back to Virginia). A constitutional amendment might be necessary to wrest this power from Congress. I would favor such an amendment provided it treated the District in a fair manner afterwards.

Alternatively, though, I wonder whether the federal government had the power to deprive Maryland citizens of their rights to vote for Representatives (but not Senators nor the President, neither of which anyone but state legislators and electors, respectively, voted for in the early days of the country) as I believe the act creating the District out of the Maryland and Virginia cessions came after the Fifth Amendment protections of liberty were passed.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 11:30 AM

...neighbors to the Northeast...

rather.

Don't know what I was thinking there.

Posted by: Anon. at 11:30 | January 30, 2007 11:33 AM

The founding fathers wrote that slaves were only 3/5 of a person. I guess if we don't like that, we should move. Not make an amendment or anything. It wasn't like the founding fathers wanted the Constitution to be a living, fluid document, providing an alternative to violent revolutions.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 11:51 AM

There is more wisdom in the comments than in the article. Partial retro-cession makes some sense. Maryland is already solid democrat and full of nanny-state busybodies who apparently love high taxes, so no harm would be done.

Posted by: gitarre | January 30, 2007 11:55 AM

Maryland would accept retrocession if given enough money to do so. Why not increase the delegation by one?

Posted by: ah | January 30, 2007 12:03 PM

Ah,

Maryland's delegation could be increased temporarily by one to account for the extra people, but if they're accounted for after the 2010 census, the delegation could be fairly decided at any size of Congress, including 435 (and it would likely result in their taking a representative away from some other state, but that's how things work with the census)

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 12:07 PM

"You want to revitalize the District and make it a place where more people want to live? Make it free of federal taxes. I bet within a year the District will become a great success instead of the dysfunctional entity it is now."

Yes, exactly! Tax-free DC would be much closer to America than Bermuda and the Caribbean tax havens. Millionaires from all over America would want to live in DC. They'd immigrate by the thousands, and when they get here, they'd realize that even without federal taxes, it's still not worth it to live in a fourth-world hellhole on par with Baghdad or Mogadishu.

With the influx of well-heeled new voters, there'd finally be competitive local elections. The Mayor and City Council and School Board would be out on their ears. Most of DC would be paved over and started anew. Without being beholden to traditional DC power structures, the new leaders of the world's richest city will have no reason to accept perpetual mediocrity in everything that local government does. The new residents would insist on schools that teach and cops that police, ambulance drivers that know where the hospital is and manholes that don't explode. Verily, every problem in the District would be solved.

Within 3-5 years, DC would be a model city, Congress will claim credit for its rebirth and at long last reward the new DC with 2 senators and a Congressional rep.

Then everyone will be happy?

Posted by: athea | January 30, 2007 12:07 PM

pete, thanks for the math lesson, quite interesting actually.

i had no idea there were people who actually were against dc representation. i don't agree with any of you, but i suppose there are historical, or constitutionalist reasons, as lacking in foresight or equality as they seem to the rest of us.

Posted by: another person with no representation | January 30, 2007 12:23 PM

Well, I was born in Washington, DC right at Washington Hospital Center. I did not choose to become a resident as I was born into residency. Some of us native Washingtonians like living in DC, and we will fight to reach representational parity on par with other states. I am for Statehood....DC has a robust economy, more than half of the tax revenue is raised in DC, and that will only increase in time. The reason DC is at a disadvantage only stems from the disadvantage that the Federal government creates for us. 40 percent of the land in DC is not taxable. The federal government is largely responsible for that imbalance. So, while DC does depend on the federal government to boost its revenue annually, it could be just as easy for the federal government to cede all that land that it is not doing anything with and rotting back to DC so that it may develop it and contribute to the local economy. But, no......there is a structural imbalance that the federal government is responsible for, but it does not take steps to PERMANENTLY bridge this dreadful gap. Former Mayor Williams has contributed greatly to DC in that he had a sense of locally expanded the DC tax base without relying on the Federal government. But, this in no way excuses the lack of attention of the federal government to this issue. DC has its own economy, less than 25 percent of all jobs in DC are federal government jobs. It is time for the nation to reexamine the Constitution of the United States and grant DC statehood within the next 20 years. The Founding Fathers were not perfect, and the constitution is written to be amended. For those using the constitution as the sole basis for denying DC residents equal representation, you are anti-American, and you are the ones that need to move, preferably out of this country. I am willing to fight for democracy, and I am not moving for voting representation. I was born in DC, and I plan on continuing to be a DC resident. And, lastly, the federal government cannot just give DC back to Maryland. Maryland has to consent, and right now, consent stands at about 20 percent. So, Statehood has a better chance of acceptance than retrocession. Just my two cents. Have a nice day.

Posted by: otavio_dc | January 30, 2007 12:47 PM

And for those of you who argue that the District was created to not be in a State.....well, a possible solution could be that Washingon, DC can be reduced down to the monumental core of the mall, plus the three branches of government to include the White House, the Capitol building and environs, and the Supreme Court, and the Federal Triangle government offices, minus the John A. Wilson (District) building. The rest would be the new state. You see, it still would not be in a state. You got it now? Instead of throwing up a wall, break down that wall and be a part of the solution. Arguing against something for the sake of just arguing against it is in no way helpful. And, I don't appreciate the condescending attitudes on here as if you are better than me or anyone else on here.

Posted by: otavio_dc | January 30, 2007 12:58 PM

otavio,

some questions (these are not meant to be hostile):

Would you accede to retrocession if Maryland were for it?

Would you accept other cities choosing to leave to become their own states (New York, Chicago, etc.) or is the District the only one that gets to be a city-state?

Thank you in advance.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 1:05 PM

We wouldn't even be having this discussion if DC had a predominantly white population. But because it's mostly black and gay and Latino and Asian (with largely white Democrats thrown in) it's widely acceptable for "those people" to have no representation.

Posted by: and1 | January 30, 2007 1:19 PM

Soul-less suburbs?! Come out to northern VA and see more racial and ethnic diversity than in DC, fabulous restaurants with every cuisine imaginable, movies of all sorts, great schools -- and easy access to all that's good in DC. Come and visit and get over that old-time view of the suburbs.

And we have a Congressman, Tom Davis, who DOES care about DC and it's citizens and acts on it -- moreso, in fact, than many so-called leaders in DC.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 1:20 PM

I moved to DC when I was 6, so don't count as a native and may not have as good a case, but I think my friends who were born here should pursue a legal route.

1. Show up at the MD Board of Elections and try to register to vote in federal elections in what was your state before they ceded it to the federal government. Then seek legal redress when they don't let you.

2. Sue to get back the taxes you pay to the Feds.

People should not be denied their full rights as a citizen of the US (especially one person, one vote) just by the circumstances of their birth.

Taxation without representation is exactly what we are faced with now.

Posted by: Not Native | January 30, 2007 1:21 PM

Steve,

Well, you're just full of interesting insights today: "There are plenty of places in the world without representation." That was my point. I live in one -- the District of Columbia -- and I like it that way.

As for taxation with representation, do you think that it's more pleasant to pay Federal taxes in Maryland, which has representation, than in the District? The Federal tax bill's identical in both.

Posted by: KK | January 30, 2007 1:22 PM

To the anonymous poster (but we are all anonymous right?) who asked me questions:

No, I would not accept retrocession if Maryland were for it. I like living in DC because it is not Maryland or Virginia. It is sort of a cultural thing also - you can see it in the architecture, the people, and other areas. We like our flag (voted the best in North America by the way), and if you notice on the local news, the DC flag is used almost in every piece. One day, I hope that will be our state flag.

Your comparison of other cities is not really admissable. DC is the only city in the nation that has a full complement of "state" agencies to run the "city" government. The only one. DC is already a city-state in that manner. Even federal government agencies rank DC against other states in some of its literature and statistics. I have seen it - the FBI, the US Department of Commerce, etc. If DC were a state, it would have a higher economic output (GDP) than that of 15 current states.

And yes, DC can be a city-state. It already is now as far as how it runs. There is value in being unique (as long as citizens are represented equally).

Posted by: otavio_dc | January 30, 2007 1:27 PM

And before I get flamed, DC would not be the only jurisdiction to "break away" to create a new state.

West Virginia broke away from Virginia during the American Civil War, and it was admitted to the Union as a separate state on June 20, 1863.

Posted by: otavio_dc | January 30, 2007 1:33 PM

Retrocession has zero chance, not only because of money, but the fact that the Baltimore politicians would never want their hold on state power threatened. Despite some gains at the statewide offices, it's still a very Balto-centric General Assembly.

Posted by: tallbear | January 30, 2007 1:39 PM

There are some very hateful people on this board today.

Let's stick to the facts regarding this issue, it's wrong and you know it, you all are using spin to make an excuse not for DC to be finally respected as a federally tax state.

Most of you knowingly are coming from bitter, guilt racist point of views.

Just stop and really think about it...the years and years of paying federal taxes and no power to go with it.

It's like a Pimp to a Ho!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 1:51 PM

Well I hardly want to take your flag away (I like it too), and fully support your staying a cohesive city within Maryland were you to be retroceded, I think if Maryland wanted to take it back, you'd have a hard argument for statehood (without a Constitutional amendment--obviously anything is possible with constitutional amendments, but since the State of Columbia (or whatever you'd want to be called) would be electing Democrats, you'd be hard-pressed to get conservative-controlled states to accept such an amendment.)

This is because the Constitution prevents states from being divided without the acceptance of Congress and the states involved. The creature of the District of Columbia is probably no exception or else the federal government could go about carving up states for federal purposes and then giving them to others or creating new states when all that was granted was the right to create the District. I don't think the Marylanders of 1790 would be very happy about taking the land they gave (sold?) to the federal government and making it a new state without Maryland's blessing. That said, not accepting the retrocession I suppose could be taken as an implicit blessing.

West Virginia was allowed to break away because actually, Congress recognized the West Virginia government as the government of Virginia, not the rebel government. Massachusetts similarly allowed Maine to break away in 1820.

As far as the city-state comparison, my point wasn't that they are states *now*, but rather if they wanted to secede and form their own state governments, would you support that? (City of) New Yorkers have several times suggested breaking away from the state and forming their own--they would form their own state institutions. On the other hand, going back to Maryland would mean the District wouldn't have to maintain its own court, prison, university, &c., systems, which I would think would benefit you financially.

The problem with the American form of government is that it is inherently undemocratic with the Senate not equally representing people. It's not that the District is overwhelmingly minority (as was suggested), I'd be equally uncomfortable today granting Wyoming statehood with its miniscule population for the same reason--unfortunately, that ship has sailed. I'm from southeastern Pennsylvania, and you can be sure I'd like to leave to get my own senators that the people out in the sticks can't prevent.

Obviously there are several interesting political and legal viewpoints, and some strong feelings, on this issue. I will agree insofar as I think the District should be in *some* state, be it Maryland or its own, or at the very least, you all shouldn't be taxed. Good luck succeeding with your argument.

Posted by: Adam (was Anonymous at 1:05) | January 30, 2007 1:58 PM

I can't believe all of the vitriol over DC getting a vote IN THE HOUSE. For those who don't know this (and apparently, there are a lot), The House is supposed to proportionally represent the population of the country. So long as representation reflects accurate Census figures, there is no such thing as "over-representation" in The House.

http://clerkkids.house.gov/congress/members/index.html

However, in THE SENATE, all states get two votes regardless of size. That way, smaller states wouldn't be bullied by "the tyranny of the majority" and would actually go along with the Constitutional Convention.

Posted by: mizbinkley | January 30, 2007 2:00 PM

There is such a thing as overrepresentation in the House because not all states can have exactly proportionate numbers.

If state 1 has 1,500,001 people and state 2 has 1,499,999 people and both get three representatives, then one state is overrepresented--you can't give one state 3.000004 representatives.

Also because every state gets at least one representative, the states can be overrepresented that way. For example, if a state only had 50,000 people, it would still get the same one representative that 900,000-person Montana gets.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 2:08 PM

otavio_dc for (real not shadow) SENATOR!!!!

Posted by: 13st S.E. | January 30, 2007 2:14 PM

While I do live in Arlington (which used to be part of the District), I greatly believe in DC getting a voting right. I do not think the Founding Fathers ever envisioned DC becoming a "big city" with year-round residents who were taxed, but not represented. That being said, I don't appreciate the anonymous poster (coward) who bashed the suburbs. Arlington is home to one of the most diverse populations (albeit, it is starting to diminish due to the cost of living) and is not filled with "chain restaurants." Far from it. I hope "Mr. Anonymous who hates the suburbs" is not at Arlington grocery stores, Crate and Barrel, and other venues where DC plates sometimes outnumber the VA plates.

Posted by: Arlington-proud | January 30, 2007 2:14 PM

My apologies. I forgot to factor that you cannot have half-people serving in the Congress. I didn't realize that was people's complaint about over-representation.

Districts represent the same number of people as closely as possible. You base your standard district size on whatever state has the smallest district (about 500,000) and work from there. Perhaps Montana needs 1/3 more of a person representing it (huh?). It may not be 100% perfect, but nothing one should call "over-representation."

Posted by: mizbinkley | January 30, 2007 2:32 PM

Taxation and voting rights are inevitably linked in this country forever. You cannot have one without the other. Therefore, there are two possible solutions, 1) Make DC a full fledged state and give it full representation, or 2) Lift all federal taxes on DC residents. It's pretty simple

Posted by: Kurt | January 30, 2007 2:57 PM

From oh man:

"DC needs to be split into 3 sections.
Section 1: Residential section to the west becomes part of Montgomery County
Section 2: Residential section to the east becomes part of PG County
Section 3: Non-residential middle - offices, government, schools, etc, remains a Federally controlled district - no residents allowed."

If we're going to do that, let's put all of D.C. in either Montgomery (imagine a school district with both Whitman and Anacostia!) or Prince George's (imagine the shock of people in upper Northwest!).

Posted by: Vincent | January 30, 2007 2:57 PM

Kurt--

Nice try at re-inventing history. Voting rights and taxation have been separated in DC since the Constitution. Get over it.

Posted by: KK | January 30, 2007 3:02 PM

Re: Arlington-proud
I think Arlington resembles D.C. more than it resembles Reston and the other "soul-crushing" suburbs. Arlington has great diversity and restaurants unlike any of other of the No Va. suburbs. If you want to have your kids go up thinking everyone is white and rich, move to the new "communities" like Bristow and the like. I know the rebuttal from people in Herndon will center about their hispanic population, but if you spend all your time making those people feel like second class citizen then you really shouldn't be able to turn around and point to them when the diversity subject comes up.

Not sure how not putting a non-identifying name is any more cowardly, unless you actually put your real name and address we are all anonymous cowards.

Posted by: 13th St. S.E. | January 30, 2007 3:07 PM

KK-
Where in the constitution does it say that DC is the exception to the patriotic battle cry of the revolution: "no taxation without representation". I'm not quite understanding your arguement....the constitution has nothing to do with this because we could make DC a state if we wanted to, much the same as we could make Puerto Rico a state. I'm not saying they should make us a state, but if the government is going to treat like second class citizens, they might as well go the whole nine yards.....I think Patrick Henry and the rest of the true patriots would agree with me.

Posted by: Kurt | January 30, 2007 3:11 PM

13th St. S.E. wrote "unless you actually put your real name and address we are all anonymous cowards."

Anyone else think "we are all anonymous cowards" should be the bloggers' anthem?

Posted by: mizbinkley | January 30, 2007 3:13 PM

Dear MizBinkley,
I am so glad to hear that there is no over-represntation in the Congress just because the House is fairly close to proportionate. We can, I think, agree to overlook the fact that most House districts are crafted specifically to disenfranchise whoever the currently ruling party in a state thinks will not support them every census year. Leave it to those poor suckers to either move from whatever community they have had the misfortune to be born into or where they just moved apparently in ignorance of the lack of true representative government. Since they are not in the District, we can apparently ignore them without fear of being labeled racist or having our children called fat or our dining establishments' reputations besmirched. And, while we are in this happy state of ignorance, we can likewise ignore the fact that by taking the motto "No Taxation Without Representation" for a fight that is really about getting MORE representation (i.e., in more branches of the government), we cannot draw any principled distinction between our position and that of the many people who have rallied round this old battle cry to argue that just having representation in the House still denies them something they believe is an inallienable right (but which you and I obviously recognize is neither inallienable nor equally allocated). Yes, let's ignore the fact that stopping at the House and not adding two DC Senators would fail to achieve as much representation as some of those posting here feel they are owed. We don't need to change the DC license plates to something more like "No Taxation Without Proportionate Representation In the Lower House of Congress." No, that would deny us the semblance of a consensus in objectives with those who really want another Wyoming in Congress.

I'm sure you agree, MizBinkley, that it's good for those seeking over-representation to have goals -- particularly if they can be made to sound like the much more reasonable goal you yourself advocate. Goals are good. Why, I myself would like to someday own one of those fancy Mercedes convertibles. Although, come to think of it, I expect to have to pay something to achieve my goal. Accusing those who would have to give up their Mercedes to me of being racists with fat children and living in and among bad restaurants seems unlikely to make them want to give me something to which I have no more claim than the fact that I want it. Maybe if I adopted a classic slogan and pretended that it applied to my situation, I could get enough moral support to guilt them into giving me something. What do you think? Could i get at least one of those Mercedes motorcycles out of it?

Posted by: Taxation With Over-Representation | January 30, 2007 3:18 PM

"we are all anonymous cowards"

I am thinking t-shirts and hats. Damn I should have trademarked that. Anyone know the number to the PTO??

Posted by: 13th St. S.E. | January 30, 2007 3:21 PM

Wow, "Taxation With Over-Representation," that's quite a rant. I was specifically addressing the question of some STATES being over-represented, but your musings are, well, interesting, too.

Posted by: mizbinkley | January 30, 2007 3:22 PM

Kurt--

If "Patrick Henry and the rest of the true patriots" had agreed with you, then they would have written the Constitution to give voting rights to DC, or to exempt it from taxation. They didn't agree with you, though. They wanted a different type of Federal District than the one you advocate -- one that is taxed but is without representation.

And, yes, the Constitution can be amended. But why bother to amend it for this? Let's make Pluto a planet, instead.

Posted by: KK | January 30, 2007 3:24 PM

To 13th St., S.E.:

I actually do NOT want my children to grow up thinking everyone is white and rich since my husband is Hispanic, so therefore my children are considered Hispanic. And as a government lawyer, I am definitely not considered rich as compared to my private sector colleagues. As a former DC resident (Glover Park in my previous childless, spouseless life), I greatly support DC voting rights.

Posted by: Arlington-proud | January 30, 2007 3:40 PM

Fascinating. In this thread I got to see a very tattered race card get played yet again. Not wanting to turn DC into a state is now racist?

Pretty weak. Is this the kind of logic for which we have the NAACP to thank?!? Is it racist to propose making DC a tax-free zone to remedy this issue? After all, as pointed out earlier there are only two solutions to this and one is Constitutionally proscribed. But you only hear about that one remedy, and curiously enough it's given publicity from those who have the most to gain from it (or do you think Norton is arguing 100% on principle for this....and is it racist for me to question her on that?!?).

Anyway, there are several posters on this thread who made the point that they were born in the District and thus did not "choose" to live here. Fair point...but it's also a fair point to say they choose to stay.

Posted by: Goaltender66 | January 30, 2007 3:42 PM

KK lives in a world where women don't vote and blacks are still possessions.


Posted by: 13th St. S.E. | January 30, 2007 3:44 PM

Arlington-proud

Re-read my post, I am on your side in regards to Arlington. I was referring to Bristow and its ilk, which is no where near Arlington, with the lack of diversity comment.

Posted by: 13th St. S.E. | January 30, 2007 3:51 PM

To 13th St. S.E. - Sorry, my bad. I agree. I don't even know where Bristow is, nor do I care to know:)

Posted by: Arlington-proud | January 30, 2007 3:56 PM

13th St S.E.,

Wake up. Haven't you heard that the Constitution was amended?

In my world women vote, no one's a possession, and DC has no representation in Congress.

Posted by: KK | January 30, 2007 3:57 PM

I think some DC residents might be offended by the notion that they can be silenced with money (we'll give you money NOT to have a vote in Congress!).

Of course, other states might wonder how they can get in on the deal.

I think reducing DC voting rights merely to an issue of race is mistaken (which is why, Goaltender66, most of the contributors to this thread haven't done it).

Also, whatever race issue there may be (DC being a "majority" minority population), it seems this race issue is actually more of political affiliation issue (DC being 90% Democratic).

And political affiliation is DEFINITELY an issue. It's why the notion of DC getting voting representation in the House only got any real traction once the idea of [very Republican] Utah getting a seat, too, was added to the mix.

Posted by: mizbinkley | January 30, 2007 3:57 PM

"Anyway, there are several posters on this thread who made the point that they were born in the District and thus did not "choose" to live here. Fair point...but it's also a fair point to say they choose to stay."

It is also fair to say that it is the people who are willing to fight for what they think is right that things actually get done in this country. The Founding Fathers said blacks (slaves) were 3/5 of a person. Was that right because they were the Founding fathers? People with spines and leadership fought to change that assessment. I don't accept moving as the right thing to do. I do accept that it is better for me to fight for what is right where I was born. I am getting sick and tired of people saying just move if you don't like it. Is this what America has become. A society of spineless souls?

Yes, I chose to stay a DC resident. So, is it my fault that I don't have voting representation in the US Congress? You may say yes, but I am saying that you are not worth my respect as a fellow American. Have a nice day!

Posted by: otavio_dc | January 30, 2007 4:02 PM

I think anyone complaining about the "suburbs" needs to be careful. DC ain't a big town, and many neighborhodds just outside the city limits have similar population densities. Also, due to building resetrictions in the District, the city will soon be ringed skyscrapers. DC is becoming an anit-urb surrounded real big cities.

Anyway, Wheaton is the most diverse neighborhood in the area, and half the city goes shopping there, too. And actual minorities can afford to live there. But I guess if your measure of city life is the cultural wasteland of nighclubs, well DC wins hands down.

Posted by: bkp | January 30, 2007 4:09 PM

I think anyone complaining about the "suburbs" needs to be careful. DC ain't a big town, and many neighborhodds just outside the city limits have similar population densities. Also, due to building resetrictions in the District, the city will soon be ringed skyscrapers. DC is becoming an anit-urb surrounded real big cities.

Anyway, Wheaton is the most diverse neighborhood in the area, and half the city goes shopping there, too. And actual minorities can afford to live there. But I guess if your measure of city life is the cultural wasteland of nighclubs, well DC wins hands down.

Posted by: bkp | January 30, 2007 4:11 PM

Otavio, far be it from me to interrupt your display of righteous outrage, but let's put a few things into perspective.

First, the founders said slaves were to be counted as 3/5 in order to form a compromise between northern (with few slaves) and southern (with many slaves) states. The fear was to avoid concentrating too much political power in a region where there would only be few voters. Far from being the instituionalized racism that many lazy thinkers try to portray it as, it's actually something that worked out pretty well in the end. If it had gone the other way, the political power of the slaveholding states would have been much greater.

That said, you can try to portray yourself as some kind of modern-day Thomas Jefferson (sadly though, you really aren't), but at the end of the day the roadmap here is clear. If you want to change the Constitution, then change it. But if the supermajority of states don't buy into it, along with supermajorities of both houses of Congress along with the President, then suck it up and deal. Right now those supermajorities do not exist, and crying "racism" will not create them.

As an aside, I can't help but note that in the quarter which routinely accuses conservatives of using the Constitution as toilet paper, this issue seems to create exactly that kind of behavior among those who just want to ignore the Constitution in favor of DC Statehood.

Anyway, there's a pretty easy solution that should be on the table, which is erase federal tax liability on those who live in the District. It neatly solves the problem of "taxation without representation" and has the double benefit of providing a way to fix DC. But if you REALLY want to vote, so badly that you have to lift yourself up by saying you don't respect people with a honest but differing view, then yes it is your fault. By staying in the District your actions show you'd rather live where you are now instead of someplace where you can vote. Therefore...how important *REALLY* is that vote to you?!?

I'd say not at all, and I'd further say that wallowing in perpetual victimhood is more attractive to you. Neither of those are very courageous stands.

Posted by: Goaltender66 | January 30, 2007 4:19 PM

To mizbinkley @ 3:57

I think if District residents would be offended at such a notion, the taxing of such people without representation must be pushed to the back of the argument.

Framing as "taxation without representation" has two solutions--adding representation and elminating taxation. If the latter is insufficient, change the rhetoric to, simply, "Americans without representation" (or such), viz. there is *no* fair solution short of representation.

Posted by: Adam | January 30, 2007 4:22 PM

bkp "But I guess if your measure of city life is the cultural wasteland of nighclubs, well DC wins hands down."

Yeah, there is no Kennedy Center, there is no Arena stage (and other theatres), there is no Shakespere Library and theatre, nothing but nightclubs and poor people.
And BTW D.C. is about the same size as Boston, so maybe both of them are about to become "an anit-urb". Since they both "ain't big towns".
Also, you can count me as the other half that doesn't shop in Wheaton. Why would people shop in Wheaton? That was a serious question because I haven't been to Wheaton is years.
Again I repeat otavio_dc for (real) D.C. Senator.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 4:28 PM

The sockpuppets are alive and well in this thread, I see. Groan.

Posted by: Goaltender66 | January 30, 2007 4:31 PM

"That said, you can try to portray yourself as some kind of modern-day Thomas Jefferson (sadly though, you really aren't), but at the end of the day the roadmap here is clear."

I never once said that I wanted to portray myself as some kind of modern-day Thomas Jeffererson, but you did. I appreciate the "attempted" comparison though.

"Right now those supermajorities do not exist, and crying "racism" will not create them."

I have never once used racism as an argument for DC Statehood and full voting representation. I never will. You think you know what type of person that you are dealing with, but you really don't.

"I'd say not at all, and I'd further say that wallowing in perpetual victimhood is more attractive to you. Neither of those are very courageous stands."

I would say that you don't know anything about me. Wallowing in perpetual victimhood is not more attractive to me. Fighting for what I think is right IS more attractive to me. You may be the one with less courage. But, I don't know you either. Just a guess though from what you have said thus far.

Posted by: otavio_dc | January 30, 2007 4:33 PM

I feel so fortunate to have someone like Stick to educate me about the constitution. I'm especially grateful to know that the Framers knew there would be 50 states. Amazing. Yes, I can appreciate the constitutional arguments -- though not sure why they have to be so meanspirited -- but as Steve wrote, if we are not entitled to representation, then be consistent and cut the shackles of taxation.

Posted by: ralph | January 30, 2007 4:38 PM

"I never once said that I wanted to portray myself as some kind of modern-day Thomas Jeffererson, but you did. I appreciate the "attempted" comparison though."

Oh what to make of this statement of yours.....

"I do accept that it is better for me to fight for what is right...."

Sorry, but posting inanities on a blog thread is not "fighting" nor is it some kind of Profile in Courage...your lofty rhetoric notwithstanding.

Anyway....

"I have never once used racism as an argument for DC Statehood and full voting representation. I never will. You think you know what type of person that you are dealing with, but you really don't. "

Did I say you were using it as an argument? Interestingly enough, I haven't seen much in the way of arguments from you...just a lot of rhetoric. So again I reiterate...if taxation is the issue, that can be addressed quite easily. That the suits like Norton aren't giving credence to that solution says quite a bit.

"I would say that you don't know anything about me. Wallowing in perpetual victimhood is not more attractive to me."

Actions speak louder than words.

"Fighting for what I think is right IS more attractive to me."

And how are you "fighting?" To me it seems more effective to move to where you have Congressional representation and can work for the election of people who can actually make a difference instead of staying in the District to whine and blame the District's problems on others.

"You may be the one with less courage. But, I don't know you either. Just a guess though from what you have said thus far."

A pretty bad guess too. But as I said earlier, actions speak louder than words. If you don't want to be courageous and take control of your own life then feel free to stay in your vote-free residence. Just don't expect much in the way of sympathy. :)

Posted by: Goaltender66 | January 30, 2007 4:46 PM

I am simply saying let's stick to the facts, the racism I am speaking of is coming from the bloggers, not the issue in discussion which is more political that racial however I do wonder what DC would be like if it were (soon to be) mostly white and republican. There is a differnce..and for those that have a Phd in Sociology know what I mean.

We are talking about fairness, plain and simple.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 4:50 PM

"That the suits like Norton aren't giving credence to that solution says quite a bit."

Maybe it is time for me to step in there and fight for the citizens of the District of Columbia. How about that action?

I have had more than a few people to say that they would vote for me in elected office - that is from people in DC and other random citizens outside of DC. And, I am not just referring to the people calling for me as DC Senator (thanks by the way for the encouragement) on this board. They liked what I had to say.

How is that for a future action?

Posted by: otavio_dc | January 30, 2007 4:56 PM

From DCVote.org: 10 Myths about the District of Columbia discusses, among other things, why the notion that Founding Fathers meant for DC to remain vote-less is a myth.

http://www.dcvote.org/trellis/denial/10mythsaboutthedistrictofcolumbia.cfm

However, I am NOT enough of a constitutional scholar to be better able to analyze the intent of the founding fathers. There does seem to be, though, some precedent for granting DC voting rights through acts short of a Constitutional Amendment.

Posted by: mizbinkley | January 30, 2007 4:58 PM

To the people so viscerally against granting voting rights to D.C. Why do you care so much about keeping a vote from D.C. residents? There has to be something that keeps you in this fight? Is it that you were raised as a strict constructionist and so that is what you believe? Is it because you are such a partisan hack you can't bare another potentially democratic seat? People seem so dead-set against it but it won't affect them at all, you won't lose your own reps and you won't lose any money.
If its just to rile people up in the comments section of a blog then nevermind, because I can understand that.

Posted by: 13th St. S.E. | January 30, 2007 5:13 PM

You tell 'em, Goaltender66. District residents aren't doing enough to get themselves the right to vote they CLAIM to want. They should be writing their Senators to vote for legislation to... oh wait.

The Government doesn't make anyone else leave their jobs, family and community for the "privilege" of voting.

Also, there are those of us who live in states who ARE passionate about DC voting rights. And we're working to advance the voting rights of our disenfranchised DC bretheren. And not for any outside agenda, but because it's properly befitting the ideals of our nation.

But maybe that's just lofty rhetoric.

Posted by: mizbinkley | January 30, 2007 5:15 PM

I'd accept either statehood or retrocession; retrocession has the advantage of being "win-win" if anyone sues to stop retrocession on constitutional grounds -- either they lose and District residents' voting rights are assured, or they win and the District sues Virginia for the return of unconstitutionally-annexed Arlington.

And I really don't appreciate the "if you don't like it, move" argument from anyone who doesn't apply it to their own life. Abortion is the law of the land; if you don't like it, move to Nicaragua! The Supreme Court says that the Second Amendment provides for an individual right to keep and bear arms -- if you don't like it, move to England! -- but that state and local jurisdictions can regulate and even ban certain classes of weapons -- and if you don't like that, move to Iraq! If you don't subscribe to every element of the Constitution as it existed when you were born, and don't doggedly accept every controlling legal precedent, then you don't have standing to criticize when District citizens stay and fight.

Now, if vaherder and his cronies (possibly "her," I guess, but I've never met a woman who embraces others' misfortune as gleefully as vaherder, and I temped for a divorce lawyer in college) actually do that, then I will withdraw my claim that their opposition is unprincipled. But somehow I imagine I won't have to.

Posted by: quaker | January 30, 2007 5:28 PM

This issue continues to be total b.s. Washington D.C. is a city, if you want to have representation in Congress, you should become part of Virginia or Maryland -- you do not deserve your own status as a "state". If and when this scam is ever pulled off, I will insist that the 26 or so cities who have greater population also be admitted into the Union as "states." You're a city, not a state. Be a city in Virginia or Maryland, but stop thinking you should be treated like them.

Posted by: Colorado Kool-Aid | January 30, 2007 5:29 PM

13th St. SE, you asked if it was for fear of losing some of their own state's representatives that some folks are so viscerally opposed to voting rights for DC residents. you are probably right, if the debate about a reciprocity tax (the so-called commuter tax) is any indication. MD and VA residents who work in DC by and large think that a reciprocity tax would add to their tax bill, when in reality it would do no such thing. Rather it would allocate a small portion of each resident's state taxes to the jurisdiction where s/he worked. It would apply to DC residents who work in a neighboring state the same way it would apply to VA and MD residents. True, those states would end up with a slight shortfall because more of their residents work in DC than vice versa, but that's how a reciprocity tax is intended: to help the host jurisdiction fund the various services it provides for commuters. Because of the numbers, DC needs to provide more services to commuters than do the other jurisdictions.

Posted by: ralph | January 30, 2007 5:37 PM

To be fair, adding representatives anywhere else *does* dilute the power of the other states' delegations. The one representative to which the District would be entitled wouldn't dilute them much, but it would make each other Representative a little less powerful.

The two Senators dilute other states' a lot more of course.

Posted by: Adam | January 30, 2007 6:11 PM

Shangra-la= No federal tax on D.C. residents AND a reciprocity tax.

Posted by: 13th St S.E. | January 30, 2007 6:30 PM

But of course, these Democrats are so great for the District. Anyone who questions that must be a Republican thug.

Posted by: Gary Masters | January 30, 2007 6:32 PM

KK wrote:

tampadave,

Can you explain why the Founding Fathers drafted a Constitution -- and the States ratified -- a Federal District without a vote and with taxation?

Adams, Madison, Jefferson, et al., were anti-American?

The answer is that the Founding Fathers drafted no such thing. The income tax at issue was created by the 16th Amendment, which reads: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

Courts have interpreted "the several States" to include the District of Columbia.

Representation is dealt with by Article I of the Constitution. Article I, Section 2, Clause 1 deals with the House of Representatives: "Section 2: The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature."

Article I, Section 3, Clause 1 originally governed the composition of the Senate, but was superseded by the 17th Amendment (which provided for direct election of senators). The relevant portion of the 17th Amendment reads: "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures."

Courts have determined that for the purposes of representation, the District is NOT one of the "several states."

The Founders didn't create the imbalanced system...turns out it was those darned "activist judges."

Posted by: Ed in DC | January 30, 2007 6:34 PM

It's nice to see so much discussion of this topic here - a topic that for most is out of sight and out of mind. For over two decades, because I live in the nation's capital, I have not had the right to be represented in Congress. How's that for bragging rights?

The whole discussion is frustrating.

Surely we can agree that American citizens living in the U.S. capital should have the same rights as those living in states. But even here in the District many are so reality-based that they're ready to accept just about anything with a smile. Does that remind anyone of a slave mentality? Whatever. (Can anyone tell how frustrating this is to some of us?)

If nothing else, by recording D.C.'s vote in the Committtee of the Whole in the House, D.C.'s vote will be recorded. As one who has looked at the historical record and compared votes of different areas, it is frustrating that D.C.'s opinion over two centuries is missing. Sick, really.

As far as having a vote in the House of Reps - even that leaves me numb and inactive. DC citizens should have the same rights as other Americans, not 1/3 (if you can even consider it that).

Posted by: Mark | January 30, 2007 11:14 PM

This is a great joke on the residents of Washington D.C. The best way to describe the "vote that does not matter" is similar to someone stating that they are providing you with a car to drive, but instead they provide you with a picture and an uncut key. It appears that this congress is trully well vested into symbolism. Resolutions that have no legislative meaning, ethics hearings that find no fault with the Paige program and now the non-vote for the Delegates that don't count. I hope that everyoe is paying attention to their elected and eligable voting congressional members actions towrds this matter. Its best that during the next election cycle to remove those that supported such a meaningless and invisable idea. At this current pace of this democratic congress, the republicans are selecting their furniture for the leadership offices once again.

Posted by: Al Bridges | January 31, 2007 7:05 AM

I propose this:
DC Citizens did not pass any federal laws through elected representatives. I call upon all those selected as jurors for federal crimes, to simply declare them innocent regardless of evidence. It is immoral to send someone to jail if a citizen did not have a say in the law.

Posted by: John | January 31, 2007 7:35 AM

Colorado Kool-Aid writes,
"If and when this scam is ever pulled off, I will insist that the 26 or so cities who have greater population also be admitted into the Union as 'states.'"

Nice straw man. It's not population size that's the issue. The residents of those other cities don't need to be States to get Congressional representation. They already have it.

I can't see retrocession working; it's doubtful that Maryland voters would accept it, and I think plenty of DC residents would find it undesirable.

There are real problems with making DC a state, but they're political problems, not Constitutional ones. The process for adding new states exists and has been exercised repeatedly. The issue here is finding a political compromise that will satisfy both the Democrats and the Republicans.

I don't have a perfect solution, but I don't see how anyone can legitimately argue that DC residents don't -deserve- Congressional representation because they live there. You may disagree with the various proposals for getting them the right every other American has, but why argue so hard that the -people- here are somehow intrinsically less full citizens than you are?

Posted by: Post reader | January 31, 2007 11:26 AM

I say let the Federal District comprose of the White House, the Capitol, the Mall and the Federal buildings & museums between them.

Retrocede the "real city parts" to Maryland so those who live there can have Senators and a voting Congressional Representative.

DC residents should beware, however, that it will come at a price: the hallowed building-height limits and the freeway moratorium will go away.

Posted by: CEEAF | January 31, 2007 2:30 PM

"DC residents should beware, however, that it will come at a price: the hallowed building-height limits and the freeway moratorium will go away."

This is exactly the reason why DC will probably never rejoin Maryland. Statements such as these. A political power play. I just love when people want to feel they have the power to talk in the absolute.

Posted by: otavio_dc | January 31, 2007 4:48 PM

"This is exactly the reason why DC will probably never rejoin Maryland. Statements such as these. A political power play. I just love when people want to feel they have the power to talk in the absolute."

Then stay as you are. I couldn't care less - I HAVE voting representatives.

Besides, we in Maryland already have a big, dangerous, dysfunctional city. It's called Baltimore. One is enough.

Have a happy landing.

Posted by: CEEAF to otavio_dc | January 31, 2007 9:34 PM

"This is exactly the reason why DC will probably never rejoin Maryland. Statements such as these. A political power play. I just love when people want to feel they have the power to talk in the absolute."

Well, otavio_dc,

When you want something from others, it's usually necessary to give something in return. It's how intelligent adults do business.

If want "voting rights" (a misnomer, BTW - you HAVE "voting rights; it's voting REPRESENTATION that you're seeking), the usual DC apologist posture of in-your-face combatativeness and resistance to change won't get it. It certainly hasn't so far.

Posted by: CEEAF | January 31, 2007 9:52 PM

Sigh. Virginia has vaherder and we have CEEAF.

Posted by: Maryland | February 1, 2007 8:31 AM

I was born in the District (for whatever that's worth) and am a DC resident -- but I bet you if you held a referendum today on whether DC residents wanted Neither Taxation Nor Representation or both, it would be a strong win for the former.

All the sudden DC's outrageous 9% tax rate doesn't look so bad.

Posted by: CBGB | February 1, 2007 2:35 PM

"Sigh. Virginia has vaherder and we have CEEAF."

Boy, have you! And whining like a girl-dog ain't gonna change it.

Know what they say to people who whine, oink, bleat, and bray about content they don't like? CHANGE THE CHANNEL!

Don't read it if you don't like it.

Have a happy landing.

Posted by: CEEAF | February 3, 2007 4:05 PM

As long as Marrion Barry keeps getting elected the people of DC are too stupid to be a state.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 2:02 PM

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