Remember Douglas E. Moore, the maverick Democrat, the sometimes rambunctious politician and the self-styled "unbought and unbossed" people's champion on the City Council?
That Douglas Moore bowed out of public office Jan. 2, after losing his bid to be the Democratic nominee for City Council chairman in the September primary election.
Well, says none other than Douglas E. Moore, the old Doug Moore is politically dead. Now there is "a new Douglas Moore," to be prominently displayed in the upcoming campaign to choose a replacement for Mayor Marion Barry on the City Council.
A special election will be held May 1 to select someone to complete the remaining two years of Barry's term as an at-large council member. This week, the D.C. Democratic State Committee chose lawyer John Ray, who had been endorsed by Barry, as Barry's successor until after the election.
The goateed man with the sometimes grinning face who raised both hands in victory when introduced at a state committee meeting this week seemed a lot like the old Doug Moore.
Standing at the microphone to plead his case to the state committee, he was still as assertive and forthright as the old Doug Moore. He held a city map on which some areas had been colored in.
"Wherever you see red, those are hard-core Doug Moore supporters. May 1st is May Day, too," Moore said. "If you can read the sign of the times, it's very clear.... This seat belongs to Doug Moore and the 35,000 people who voted for me (in September).
"I will be a candidate (May 1) with or without your support," he said, as the audience sat silent. "You can clap," Moore said with a grin. He was enjoying it.
One other thing that hasn't changed about Moore is that he's still a loser with the state committee, where he could muster no more than three of the 49 votes cast in the balloting that chose Ray.
Many of Moore's supporters are not perplexed by that. Moore's real strength is not with the state committee's "regular Democrats," but with the party's rank and file, they say.
If all this leaves you still looking for the new Douglas Moore, well, hold your breath, says Douglas Moore. "If I tell you now, you won't have anything to write about later," he said.
"You can quote me on this: There's a new Douglas Moore, and it's political all the way. They're just beginnning to see the new Doug Moore."
Maybe the old one was a bit too much of a political hardliner, Moore suggests. "I was too puritanical before. I should have been in a monastery."
Nelson Rimensnyder, research associate for the House District Committee, would like to set the record straight.
"Marion Barry is the second mayor EVER of the District of Columbia," he writes, "not as you and others write, the second mayor of the District of Columbia since home rule was terminated in 1871 and so forth.
"Before 1871, there was no District of Columbia government. There were separate political units comprising the nation's capital. The cities of Georgetown and Washington had elected mayors and city councils before 1871 and the surrounding County of Washington was governed by commissioners."
Rimensnyder said the Washington of those days was much smaller than the Washington, D.C., of today, so it would be inappropriate to call Barry the second mayor of Washington since 1871.
The city's mayor has responsibility for the entire District of Columbia. Before Barry and his predecessor, former mayor Walter E. Washington, the last person with a similar post was Alexander "Boss" Shepherd, who was governor of the District from 1871 to 1874.
Here's a little political gossip:
The word is that the law firm of Danzansky, Dickey, Tydings, Quint and Gordon has more than a passing interest in the professional talents of a politically well-connected black lawyer named Washington, Walter Edward, to be exact -- the former mayor of the District of Columbia.
The law firm already has at its disposal the professional talents of one politically well-connected black lawyer named Washington, namely Robert Benjamin Washington Jr., chairman of the D.C. Democratic State Committee.
Robert Washington, whose candidate for mayor (Sterling Tucker) lost in the September Democratic primary, said he isn't worried about the possible competition of another well-connected Washington lawyer. Walter Washington, who left office last week after 11 years as the city's mayor, says he's, well, just thinking about it.