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Archive: Politics

Is Fenty Vulnerable?

Well more than a year before Adrian Fenty asks D.C. voters to grant him a second term, the mayor who won every single precinct in the District in 2006 suddenly seems just slightly vulnerable. You'd be less than wise to bet even a halfway decent lunch on anyone coming close to Fenty in the 2010 election, but it now appears that at least two of the mayor's rivals on the D.C. Council are seriously considering a challenge. Both of the potential rivals are named Brown. Yesterday, several politically connected folks around the city received emails from Marshall Brown, the...

By Marc Fisher | June 2, 2009; 08:08 AM ET | Comments (10)

In Virginia, Who Votes Will Decide Who Wins

At the last three campaign events I've gone to, I've heard exactly the same opposing views from Virginians contemplating the June 9 Democratic gubernatorial primary: "It's only governor, so I don't think I need to vote" runs slam into "I'm tired of politics after last year, but this is for governor, so I guess I better get out there and vote." In the Washington suburbs, attitudes toward local and state government are different from those in most places around the country. Because of proximity to the District and the large number of people who have some connection to the...

By Marc Fisher | May 26, 2009; 07:42 AM ET | Comments (3)

Michael Steele's Academic Misadventure

He hasn't exactly held high office, and he's neither a policy leader nor a brilliant campaigner, but former Maryland lieutenant governor and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is a hugely charming storyteller, and in a video to appear this weekend on C-SPAN, Steele keeps an audience of high school students spellbound with the scary yet inspirational tale of the time he was booted out of Johns Hopkins University. The heroine of Steele's story--as is often the case--is his mother, Maebell Turner, who managed to scare him onto the right course without ever deigning to look at her son...

By Marc Fisher | May 22, 2009; 08:10 AM ET | Comments (10)

Tip To Candidates: Change Your Names

In politics, image trumps substance much of the time. Candidates will do virtually anything to adopt the image they believe voters want to see. So why don't more candidates change their names? When the candidates for governor in Virginia take the stage today for The Washington Post debate in Annandale, it'll be a Terry, a Brian and a Creigh vying to take on a Bob in the fall election. A nifty new NameMapper tool demonstrates that we've got just what you'd expect: A choice of guys whose names peaked in the 1950s and 60s and have sunk down toward...

By Marc Fisher | May 19, 2009; 08:26 AM ET | Comments (3)

Look Who's Partners On Gay Marriage

Lying on his cot in the Longworth House Office Building in the small of the night, Jason Chaffetz had a scary dream: The conservative Republican from Utah had beaten the odds, defeated an incumbent and made it to Washington, only to end up by some bizarre twist of events arm-in-arm with Marion Barry, the crack-smoking laughingstock former mayor of the District of Columbia. "Oh man, if I had run a campaign saying I'd be working closely with Marion Barry, I don't know that I would have been elected," Chaffetz says. The nightmare turns out to be reality: Chaffetz, once the...

By Marc Fisher | May 17, 2009; 09:11 AM ET | Comments (4)

McDonnell & Kaine Agree (On Cute Kids)

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Bob McDonnell's new TV commercial touting his nice family guy credentials for being elected governor of Virginia is a tribute to the folks who made Gov. Tim Kaine's very similar spot just four years ago. But if imitation in the advertising craft is seen as something closer to plagiarism, then McDonnell's "Family" spot is a sign of a campaign that's trying way too hard to divorce itself from the Republican party's damaged image as a collection of socially conservative sourpusses. Here's the McDonnell ad, which features the GOP candidate sitting...

By Marc Fisher | May 15, 2009; 09:37 AM ET | Comments (3)

Mucking Around For Votes: Clinton At The Pig Sty

The regular weekday visitors at Frying Pan Park come for the tractor ride and a look at the goats and the pigs. Yesterday, immediately next to the pigsty, there was a bonus attraction: the former president of the United States and his buddy, who is running for governor of Virginia. Most of the park's visitors chose the pigs. (A helpful sign assured all that you can't catch swine flu from visiting Porky.) The farm park just east of Dulles International Airport in Herndon is a magnet for young mothers looking for a diversion for their preschoolers. The campaign visit by...

By Marc Fisher | May 14, 2009; 08:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Your State's Rock Song: Orioles, Dave Matthews, U2?

A reader writes that he was visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland last week on the day news broke that Oklahoma has adopted an official state rock song. At the rock museum, there's an exhibit noting that Ohio was the first state to declare an official state rock song, "Hang On Sloopy," by The McCoys. Apparently, the song was adopted not because Mr. Sloopy lives "in a very bad part of town," but because the song's authors are from Ohio. State legislators generally having a passionate desire to pass some law, any law, other states...

By Marc Fisher | May 12, 2009; 08:37 AM ET | Comments (13)

Barry, Obama & The Winding Road To Gay Marriage

When the history of this country's journey toward acceptance of same-sex marriage is written, much will be made of the startling swiftness with which one state after another embraced gay marriage in a matter of a few months in 2008 and 2009. A huge shift in popular attitudes toward homosexuality has happened in what history will eventually see as a blink of an eye. But those same historians will find a dissonant note in this social revolution: What will they make of prominent leaders who rose to power as early advocates for gay rights, but then tempered their views...

By Marc Fisher | May 11, 2009; 08:25 AM ET | Comments (34)

Moran And Dulles Taxi Politics

J erry Schaeffer wasn't born yesterday. Play around in a tough business like the D.C. taxi industry for half a century and you get to see just how power really works. Sometimes, when you're trying to land a contract, merit isn't enough. There's a reason God invented lawyers, Schaeffer knows. But when Schaeffer lost the contract to provide taxi service at Dulles International Airport in 2007, he says he was the victim of a power play that trumped any measure of merit. Schaeffer says he lost that deal as a result of a political alliance that Virginia voters should consider...

By Marc Fisher | May 10, 2009; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (3)

Out-of-State Students: Boo! Out-of-State Dollars: Yay!

In their increasingly desperate search for messages that might win them some votes in ever-more Democratic northern Virginia, Republicans think they've hit paydirt with an appeal to parents stressed out about getting their kids into the state's universities. Over the past decade, out-of-state students have been given an ever-increasing portion of the seats at the University of Virginia, George Mason University and the commonwealth's other major colleges. Now here's a red-meat issue politicians can grab hold of: Force the schools to reserve more of their places for genuine Virginians and just watch the votes of grateful citizens roll in....

By Marc Fisher | May 4, 2009; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (18)

Kemp: A Rare Advocate For The District

Jack Kemp's mind was naturally focused on football as he led the Buffalo Bills to the American Football League championship in 1964, but he was paying enough attention to politics to realize that his fellow Republicans were making a mistake that would haunt them for decades to come: By opposing the Civil Rights Act that year, Republicans sent a message that rang loud and clear among black Americans. That, Kemp would argue for decades to follow, was the moment when his party lost the bulk of its black support, and the legacy of that choice remains the party's most...

By Marc Fisher | May 3, 2009; 08:31 AM ET | Comments (7)

Small-minded Big-footing In Va. Governor's Race

Virginia's unemployment rate jumped to 7 percent in February, the highest since 1992, but what's the Republican Governors Association doing as they pump $1.2 million into their man Bob McDonnell's campaign for governor? They're busy yukking it up over the sleaziness of Bill Clinton and Terry McAuliffe, his longtime fundraiser turned Democratic candidate for governor. The Republican governors group's latest tactic is billandterry.org, a Web site that depicts the former president as an Obama-bashing, money- hungry, ethical slime who has come to Virginia to pay back McAuliffe, who is pictured in goofy party glasses and dubbed "Two-Faced Terry." Virginia's average...

By Marc Fisher | April 30, 2009; 09:09 AM ET | Comments (3)

From Fairfax To Richmond, "The Jihad Way?"

Esam Omeish's campaign web site is fairly typical for a candidate for state delegate. The big issues for his Fairfax County district are traffic congestion, growth issues and public education. But Omeish, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the 35th district, covering an area from Vienna west to Monument and Leehigh, is no ordinary candidate. He's a surgeon with a classic immigrant success story, having arrived in this country as a young boy who spoke no English, yet rose up through the Fairfax school system to attend Georgetown University. And Omeish is also a Muslim fundamentalist rabble-rouser...

By Marc Fisher | April 29, 2009; 08:25 AM ET | Comments (34)

Armageddon And A Wedding, Too

Proponents of the District's move to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages in four states that now sanction it were thrilled last week when a planned anti-gay marriage demonstration in front of the D.C. Council's offices didn't come off. But organizers of that rally say that was just a scheduling glitch and the real thing is happening Tuesday at 10 a.m. on Freedom Plaza. The rally, according to lead organizer Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Bowie, "will launch the Armageddon of the marriage battle in this country." Jackson predicts that about 1,000 church members and 100...

By Marc Fisher | April 27, 2009; 08:24 AM ET | Comments (10)

Hiz Honor Remakes Virginia In Hiz Image

RICHMOND, April 30, 2010 -- Virginia Gov. Michael Bloomberg has imported a New York pace and a billionaire's bravado to his adopted home, completing his first 100 days in office with a trio of startling announcements: The former New York City mayor has ended the unregulated sale of firearms at gun shows, taken over troubled schools in the state's four largest cities and unilaterally ordered construction of a Potomac River toll bridge into the District. The governor will pay for the bridge from his own pocket -- and he'll keep the toll receipts. Bloomberg's surprise blitz through the 2009 governor's...

By Marc Fisher | April 16, 2009; 08:34 AM ET | Comments (3)

Can D.C. Slip Gay Marriage Past Congress?

The secret memo on same-sex marriage is perhaps the best-protected document in a historically leaky government; it's so secret that even now, five years after then-Attorney General Robert Spagnoletti wrote it, members of the D.C. Council say they've never been allowed to see it. But among those who served under former Mayor Tony Williams, the word has long been that the secret memo dared to reach a legally defensible but politically unacceptable conclusion: that the District should grant recognition to same-sex marriages performed in states that have declared such bonds legal. When the Williams administration shoved the Spagnoletti opinion into...

By Marc Fisher | April 12, 2009; 07:25 PM ET | Comments (2)

 

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