“You’ve got to check your ideals outside the door, like you do your rubbers. I know how you feel, Jeff. Thirty years ago – I had those ideals, too. I was you. I had to make the decision you were asked to make today. And I compromised – yes!” Senator Joe Paine, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”
Thirty years ago, Eleanor Holmes Norton, like the fictional “Silver Knight” of Frank Capra’s feel-gooder, was an idealist. Beginning in college, the District of Columbia’s incumbent non-voting congressional delegate had been a ground-breaking civil and women’s rights activist. Though African-American, as a youthful American Civil Liberties Union assistant legal director she took on – and won – a Supreme Court case on behalf of a white supremacist group.
Then in 1990, Ms. Norton succeeded to the non-voting delegate slot representing the nation’s capital, oppressed by a monopoly Democratic Party apparatus that makes Capra’s Taylor Machine look like a Tinker Toy. That very year, “Mayor for Life” Marion Barry rounded out an initial tenure distinguished by rampant cronyism and high-level convictions by stumbling into a cocaine-plus-sex sting. The generation-plus since has seen a virtual Hall of Fame of infamy and mismanagement with “thief executives” like Sharon Pratt Dixon, Vincent Gray and even Barry’s second act.
Today, the District remains a cesspool of corruption under Muriel Bowser – an erstwhile reformer now known nationally for evicting National Guard troops dispatched to protect her city from rioters while using District funds to emblazon the name of a Marxist-led organization down 16th Street headed to the White House. Her regime, too, stinks from the head, with Council members under scrutiny for double-dealing and her own problems with excess contributions, contracts allegedly funneled to a major donor and a “constituent services” slush fund.
So what does this have to do with Delegate – or, as she prefers, Congresswoman – Norton, who, other than a tax-non-payment transgression preceding her initial run (along with a viral video of her parking perils), has appeared relatively untouched by scandal?
Simply this: through three decades of association with – and running interference for – DC’s kleptocracy, Ms. Norton has checked her ideals at the door. Even worse than her lack of meaningful action to check the machine’s abuses of power, she has spearheaded the most scandalous notion of all: transforming this morally bankrupt one-party dynasty into a 51st state.
In pursuing this silly abstraction in the name of voting “rights,” Ms. Norton is not only contemptuously carrying water for the ceremonious swindlers treating the District as their personal piggy bank. She is doing the bidding of latter-day constitutionalists Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
That pair would love nothing more than to further bastardize America’s foundational document – and accelerate the permanent tipping of the balance of power heretofore pursued through uncontrolled immigration and adulteration of electoral processes – by, overnight, adding two progressive Senate seats in perpetuity.
The good news: there’s an intriguing new idealist in town – with a not-so-new but stupendously superior idea. This drama’s Boy Ranger act-alike, though he has lived in Washington all his life, is one David Krucoff, commercial real estate broker and independent candidate for Norton’s seat.
Krucoff seeks to fill the void left by a lack of a Republican candidate with a “Purple New Deal” reform platform: the violet shade representing his aim to employ his party-free status to “transform Congress from being ineffective and overly partisan to being effective and more non-partisan.”
Beyond the too-familiar “non-partisan” positioning, much of Krucoff’s plan does comes across as oft-promised, rarely achieved Jeff Smith-ian purple pie-in-the-sky: “Rebuild infrastructure, increase housing supply, create opportunities for students and individuals, create more legal immigration, identify and eliminate corrupt and wasteful programs.”
Although given the Socialist blood-red, as opposed to deep blue, that colors Democratic delusions in the District and elsewhere, Krucoff can be forgiven for listing to the center. And his concepts of consumer-choice-driven healthcare and a tax code that incentivizes “more capitalism, not less” could, if walked out properly, warm the hearts of moderates and conservatives alike.
Moreover, one plum-toned plank is oak-solid: “Finally win complete DC voting rights, including Senators, but without increasing the size of the Senate … by creating Douglass County, Maryland; DC for short.” In other words, a second retrocession, deeding non-federal government areas back to Maryland, as happened with DC’s Virginia portion in the 1840s, while calling forth to the cause the name of another great reformer, Frederick Douglass.
Given his 83-year-old opponent’s nearly universal name recognition and 87% of the vote in the 2018 cycle, Krucoff’s crusade may seem a lost cause. But as previously cited in this space, Jeff Smith at his lowest ebb reminded the Silver Knight that “those were the only causes worth fighting for – and “that you fight for the lost causes harder than for any others.”
“Senator Smith’s filibuster pushes Senator Paine back, full circle, to the ideals that brought him to Congress in the first place,” David “Jefferson” Krucoff wrote this commentator. “Oh, if we are to be that fortunate in Washington, D.C. this election year?”
Better yet: fortunate enough to miraculously dislodge his jaded, entrenched opponent and the surly cynicism she represents.