Washington, D.C., mayoral candidate Linda Cropp took a leaf from Karl Rove's book this week -- she put out a campaign mailing that called fellow candidate Adrian Fenty soft on crime, the local government equivalent of weak on national security.
I haven't received one of the brochures yet, and it isn't on Cropp's website (which doesn't appear to have been updated in the last month), but The Washington Post reports that she said Fenty's opposition to the meaningless crime emergency bill the City Council passed a couple of weeks ago "puts our safety at risk."
Fenty was the only member of the Council to vote against the bill. I applauded his stance then here on In This Moment. As far as I'm concerned, the "crime emergency bill" is cosmetic legislation that makes it look like someone is doing something. As Fenty told The Post at the time the bill passed:
I think people know that these are not ways to solve crime. At best, we're tinkering around the edges. At worst, we are putting forth that we are doing something about a crime emergency when everyone in this room knows that we are not.The political column "The Nose" in August's Hill Rag makes this observation:
As the council blindly endorsed the legislation, Fenty seemed to understand that the jump in crime demanded solutions that were more comprehensive and less reactive. He was willing to stand on principle, indicating that his decisions as mayor may rely more on what works and less on what's popular. Of course, Cropp may use the vote against him, and like in many elections past, he might be the victim of well-produced attack ads that question his dedication to the safety and security of the city's residents.Fenty is running ahead of Cropp in the polls, making this look like a desperation move on her part. Fenty's campaign certainly thinks so; The Post quotes his spokesman Alec Evans as saying "They're behind, and they're desperate."
I hope my fellow citizens in D.C. see this attack as the dirty politics it is. We're all worried about crime -- we already had too much crime in the city before people started worrying about the latest crime emergency. But we need real solutions -- long term solutions -- not cosmetic ones.
And we certainly don't need a mayor who uses scaremongering instead of crafting solutions. That's why I'm going to vote for Adrian Fenty.