Call it welfare, even!
That minority group, of course, are Republicans in the District of Columbia, who since the advent of Home Rule in 1975 have been given a leg up in city politics via a charter provision limiting any one political party from holding more than three of the five citywide D.C. Council seats.
The new platform calls for “congressional action to enforce the spirit of the Home Rule Act assuring minority representation on the City Council.”
That would seem to be a reference to the fact that of the two non-Democrats now on the council, one is the son of a legendary Democratic national chairman and a Democrat in all but voter registration, while the other is a former Republican who has thoroughly repudiated the contemporary GOP.
But how does one “enforce the spirit of the Home Rule Act,” exactly? The spirit of the set-aside provision, after all, was to throw a sop to congressional Republicans afraid the Democrats would overrun the city government unchecked. The compromise secured the bill’s passage, but it’s done little to prevent Democratic dominance or otherwise alter the political orthodoxy in local affairs.
With two GOP-hating independents now occupying the set-aside seats, the District electorate has made its distaste for the red team quite plain. What short of writing the Republican Party directly into the charter would assure the GOP’s idea of “minority representation”?
If this argument sounds familiar, then perhaps you recall I wrote about this four years ago. Since then, the platform notes, “D.C.’s Republicans have been in the forefront of exposing and combating the chronic corruption among the city’s top Democratic officials.” That might be a little strong, but it’s not far off, and still the electorate has been reticent to reward the GOP.
Reading further: “After decades of inept one-party rule, the city’s structural deficit demands congressional attention,” the platform pleads — ironically deploying “structural deficit,” a term usually used around these parts to describe the city’s inherent fiscal disadvantages, to describe the Republicans’ inability to appeal to the electorate.
Otherwise, the platform includes the expected statements supporting D.C. school vouchers, opposing D.C.’s gun control laws, supporting a ban on abortions of “pain-capable” fetuses in D.C. and opposing D.C. statehood — all fine reasons why the GOP finds it hard to win elections in the District no matter how inept the Democrats might be.
The solution to inept one-party rule in D.C. isn’t two-party rule, it’s no-party rule. But don’t expect to find that suggestion in the Republican platform.
Here’s the full 2012 GOP platform statement on District matters:
Preserving the District of Columbia
The nation’s capital city, a special responsibility of the federal government, belongs both to its residents and to all Americans, millions of whom visit it every year. Congressional Republicans have taken the lead in efforts to foster homeownership and open access to higher education for Washington residents. Against the opposition of the current President and leaders of the Democratic Party, they have fought to establish, and now to expand, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, through which thousands of low-income children have been able to attend a school of their choice and receive a quality education.
D.C.’s Republicans have been in the forefront of exposing and combating the chronic corruption among the city’s top Democratic officials. We join their call for a non-partisan elected Attorney General to clean up the city’s political culture and for congressional action to enforce the spirit of the Home Rule Act assuring minority representation on the City Council. After decades of inept one-party rule, the city’s structural deficit demands congressional attention.
As the center of our government, the District contains many potential targets for terrorist attacks. Federal security agencies should work closely with local officials and regional administrations like the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority. A top priority must be ensuring that all public transportation, especially Metro rails, is functioning in the event of an emergency evacuation. Also, to ensure protection of the fundamental right to keep and bear arms, we call on the governing authority to pass laws consistent with the Supreme Court’s decisions in the District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago cases, which upheld the fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.
We oppose statehood for the District of Columbia.
For comparison, here’s the 2008 GOP platform statement, which made no mention of the “the spirit of the Home Rule Act”:
Preserving the District of Columbia
The nation’s capital is a special responsibility of the federal government. Yet some of the worst performing schools in the country are mere blocks from the Department of Education, and some of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in the country are blocks from the Department of Justice. Washington should be made a model city. Two major Republican initiatives — a first-time D.C. homebuyers credit and a landmark school choice initiative — have pointed the way toward a civic resurgence, and a third piece of GOP legislation now guarantees young D.C. residents significant assistance in affording higher education. Because Washington’s buildings and monuments may be top targets of terrorist groups, the federal government must work closely with local officials to improve security without burdening local residents. We call on the District of Columbia city council to pass laws consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Heller case. We honor the contributions of the residents of the District of Columbia, especially those who are serving honorably, or have served, in our Armed Forces.