Snowstorms can predict fortunes of U.S. mayors

By Petula Dvorak
Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Take a look around. Are you at your desk? How is your blood pressure? Did you narrowly escape a circle of hell on the roads this morning?

Or are you still trapped at home, cowering in the corner as your kids refine the world's biggest popsicle-stick structure because schools are still closed and you are in Day 12 of your captivity?

The way you answer these questions might decide how you vote the rest of the year.

Patience is wearing thin. Rage is bubbling. The grace period granted for the sheer magnitude of the biggest snowstorm in our region's recent history is set to expire about today. And if our area is still struggling to return to normalcy, it could be the breaking point for faith in many of our local leaders.

Plenty of sentiment has been building against D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) in the past two weeks, for sure.

The snowpack of a century couldn't have been more poorly timed for the once-popular mayor. He'd already been getting the cold shoulder from voters, even though they are generally happy with city services.

Make that were happy.

Making fun of the District and Fenty became a national sport this past weekend, as jokes about the $100-million-a-day government shutdown because of snow became part of the American conversation.

On his MSNBC show, "Hardball," Chris Matthews threw snowballs at Fenty and predicted that this might signal the end of his political ascent. Even the Weather Channel was running sound bites from people disgruntled with the city's snow-removal performance.

The Weather Channel.

And ordinarily, I'd be right there with them.

I grew up in the snow. My brother was a city snowplow operator, and my dad's two snowblowers are the pride of the neighborhood. Over the years, I've sent pictures of our two-inch-deep panic to my folks, and we all have a good laugh.

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