WITHIN DAYS of hailing the arrival of more than 200 hurricane survivors at the D.C. Armory, Anthony A. Williams packed his bags and headed for the airport, leaving behind his guests and the city that first made him mayor six years ago. Today, if we read his schedule correctly, Mr. Williams is on the second day of a three-day visit to Thessaloniki, Greece, where he is attending that city's 70th International Trade Fair. Tomorrow he is scheduled to walk through the fair's U.S. Pavilion, after which he will hop on a plane for Frankfurt, Germany, and the International Auto Show. The mayor's Web site says that he is advancing the agenda of District residents by devoting himself to "outreach . . . on a regular basis outside of Washington, D.C." On that score and among four D.C. mayors, when it comes getting out of town, Mr. Williams has no peer.
Last month, the mayor made stops in Beckley, W.Va.; Orlando; New York; St. Louis (where he participated in the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation); and Roswell, N.M. July found him at baseball's All-Star Game in Detroit and -- five days later -- in Honolulu. That comes on top of June visits to Beijing; Chicago; London; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Los Angeles on June 30 and July 1 for the inauguration of Antonio Villaraigosa as the city's mayor. On July 2, it appears, he rested.
We wish we could announce that after next week's three-day stopover in Frankfurt, the mayor might start missing the nation's capital and head for home. It's not going to happen. For reasons that escape us, Mr. Williams considers it his bounden duty to fly to Vienna, where he will help that city's people celebrate the 60th anniversary of Austria's liberation.
Wanderlust is not a recent phenomenon in Mr. Williams's life. In the last six months of 2004, the mayor put in time at Hilton Head, S.C.; Cleveland; Beijing; Shanghai; Bangkok; and Indianapolis. Now, it must be said -- because the mayor has said it -- that when he is beyond the District's borders, he uses his position as president of the National League of Cities to spread the word about the lack of full voting rights in the District, the city's structural budget imbalance and its inability to tax the incomes of commuters. He said that when away, he serves as a drum major and salesman for Washington.
And to think: The mayor's second term extends through 2006. So little time; such a great, big world.