Irony Of The Week: Carl Levin--Crusader For Democracy
D.C. residents watching the Democrats wrangling over delegates at this weekend's anguished Rules Committee hearing over how to handle the Michigan and Florida primary results could be excused if they felt a bit faint.
The spectacle of Michigan Sen. Carl Levin lecturing the Democratic National Committee members on the imperative to seat his state's delegates because it's the democratic thing to do was breathtaking. Here was a plea to honor the will of the people, coming from the great usurper himself, the lord of the Hill who imposed a taxi meter system on the District of Columbia simply because he is a Senator and therefore can ordain that a city of half a million residents shall act as he wishes.
Levin actually used the term "full voting rights" Saturday in his speech calling for the entire Michigan delegation to be seated at the Democrats' convention in Denver this summer.
So in Levin's moral hierarchy, the people of Michigan get to vote whenever they wish, the people of New Hampshire lose the special status granted them by party and tradition, and the people of the District get to do whatever the senator requires of them.
Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune describes Levin's attitude as one of "irrational hatred" for New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary position. But his actions on the D.C. taxi issue smack more of contempt than hatred, an all-too-common belief that the residents of the nation's capital are something less than citizens.
Police enforcement of Levin's meter regime is supposed to begin in earnest today. Enjoy the cheaper rides downtown. The shrinkage and eventual destruction of an unusual but remarkably efficient taxi system is underway.
As The Post's Paul Duggan explained the other day, the real impact (and, some believe, the real agenda) behind the switch from zone fares to meters will be the decline of the open-access system that has resulted in Washington having a wildly disproportionately high number of cabs on the streets.
Duggan quoted D.C. taxi commission member Cornelius Baker: "Meters are an important first step in bringing reform and better service to our taxicab industry. I certainly believe there should be some form of restriction on the numbers. Is that a full medallion system? I don't know. But I do think there are benefits to a medallion system in that it creates investment and capital."
Read: Better-equipped, cleaner cabs, provided by big fleet companies that displace individual owners and reduce the number of cabs on the street to boost demand and prices through an artificially limited market.
You can send your thanks to the senator from Michigan.
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