hat tip for the picture -The Black Snob
The Washington Post, who carried Fenty’s water during his term for the most part, must have been anticipating this, because they had, within hours of the votes being counted, this long article on why the mayor lost.
How Adrian Fenty lost his reelection bid for D.C. mayor
By Nikita Stewart and Paul Schwartzman
Washington Post Staff Writers
One afternoon in late June, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s political advisers invited their boss to a downtown conference room to report an unsettling development: Focus groups commissioned by the campaign were saying that Fenty’s leadership style was offensive and that he was oblivious to constituents’ concerns.
If the mayor had any chance of winning them over, the prospective voters told the campaign, he needed to apologize for his actions.
Tom Lindenfeld, the mayor’s chief political strategist, proposed a cure, a one-page letter to be delivered to thousands of voters across the District, a letter in which Fenty would acknowledge mistakes and express remorse. He would promise to change.
“What is this?” the mayor said, reading the letter and tossing it away.
“The things you don’t do now will be much harder for voters to ignore later,” Lindenfeld told him.
The mayor slammed his hand on the table.
“I’m proud of my record,” Fenty shot back, according to Lindenfeld and two others present at the meeting. The mayor stood and walked out.
How Fenty came to squander that success and the goodwill that catapulted him to office is the story of a mayor who misread an electorate he was sure he knew better than anyone, who ignored advisers’ early warnings that key constituencies were abandoning him, who shut out confidantes who told him what he did not want to hear and who began to listen only when the race was all but lost. The account is based on interviews with more than a dozen of Fenty’s advisers and supporters, including some such as Lindenfeld and campaign chairman Bill Lightfoot, and others who talked only on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to appear critical of the mayor. The sources were interviewed Tuesday or earlier with the agreement that the information would not be published until after the election. The mayor was interviewed in the final hours before the campaign ended.
Fenty, an incumbent with a $5 million war chest who lost to council Chairman Vincent C. Gray on Tuesday, used many of the same tactics that had won him the mayoralty in 2006, frustrating advisers who thought he needed a more sophisticated campaign. He refused to pay for pollsters to measure the public mood, for example, or hire researchers to dig up dirt on Gray.
Who gathers up a $5 million war chest and doesn’t do polls?
That’s a basic tenant of politics. The only folks that don’t do polls, are campaigns that can’t afford to do polls.
But, one didn’t need polls, if you had just been reading the opinion columns of Colbert King and Courtland Milloy over at the Washington Post. I’ve been reading their columns on Fenty for a few years, and you can pretty much chart the building foment against Fenty within the Black Community against Fenty. A simmering discontent that built up over several years into where it boiled over.
Fenty lost, because he lost his base. They believed he turned on them, so, they, in turn, returned the favor at the ballot box on Tuesday. Incident upon incident chipped away at his voter base, and once they turned against him, they were just looking for what they perceive to be a viable alternative.
You can’t brag about dog parks, when you’re shutting down Low-Income Child Care Centers.
In a majority-Black city with the legacy of having a strong professional class that not only predates the Civil Rights Movement, but does so by decades, having only ONE Black in place in the top 10 positions of power in the city – how do you think that looks?
The perceived ‘ insults’, just kept on piling on top of one another, until it hit a saturation point with the majority of the Black citizens in the city. Insults compounded by the Washington Post and their dismissive tone towards those who would criticize Fenty. Outside of King and Milloy, the attitude of the rest of the post about Black concerns was that they were just ‘ irrational’/’what do they know?’
Great comment at Ta-Nehisi Coates that summed it up well:
In exchange for their endorsement during his first tun for mayor, when the Post helped Fenty win every area of DC, the Post expected to play the king-maker/big brother role. The Post vociferously defended Fenty’s more controversial moves, like hiring a person (Michelle Rhee) with no management experience running a big-city school system, to run a big city school system. Or plucking an undistinguished police commander (one of several) from the ranks and appointing her police chief (Cathy Lanier). Or appointing a person (Linda Singer) to be the city’s top attorney who had never practiced law and wasn’t even licensed to practice in DC. Rather than question why Fenty would appoint under-qualified (but noticeably non-black) persons to three of the top spots in DC government, the Post, always suspected of being a house organ for the whiter and wealthier parts of DC, attacked Fenty’s critics—-including future Mayor, Vincent Gray—-as being part a cadre wanting to return DC back to the bad old days. . ….
Early on the Post had ignored and then dismissed the complaints of black DC voters, and subsequently did the same of Vincent Gray’s candidacy. That meant that the Post’s desire to continue playing an insider role in shaping DC politics rested on a Fenty win. But by this time, late in the Mayoral contest, the damage had already been done. White voters, aided and abetted by the Post, had lost enthusiasm for Fenty. Although the subsequent investigation will not reveal the Post’s fingerprints, and the post-mortem will not show any stab wounds to the back of Fenty’s torso, make no mistake: the combination of Fenty’s short-comings combined with the Post’s paternal arrogance is what did in Fenty.
Fenty should have heeded what happened to Artur Davis in Alabama- THAT is who he most resembles.
Found this comment at Promtheus6 by one of my favorites -prcruiser:
What too many folks don’t realize, especially those who are not connected even tangentially to black folks save through the ephemeral artifacts of pop culture, is that there is “old guard” in our section of the American neighborhood who you cross at your own peril. Once these folks are done with you, they are done with you. No ifs, ands or buts. In the wake of the election victories of Corey Booker, Adrian Fenty and Barack Obama there was a significant move to write these folks off. What wasn’t understood is that the success of Booker, Fenty and Obama was due, in great part, to the support of this “old guard” that tends to remain just below the radar. Fenty’s defeat clearly sends a message that news of the old guard’s demise was premature.
The wildest thing about all of this?
Not that Fenty lost…
When you have a wife giving interviews and calling Black voters in D.C.
you really shouldn’t be shocked that you were voted out.
I’m stunned that, in the grand scheme of things, HAROLD FORD.
Harold ‘ I lied about my Grandmama, saying that she was passing’ Ford, was the one of this trio to hold onto the Black base.
Who’d a thunk it?
So, here’s a note for all you ‘ post-racial’ Black politicians..
if you tell the Black community to ‘ kiss your ass and go somewhere and sit down while I court White people’..
don’t be shocked that when it comes time to vote, they say ‘ F— YOU’.
I still shake my head over Artur Davis losing the Black vote in ALABAMA to a White man..the statement that made to Davis on what Black people thought of him….still makes me go DAYUM.
Maybe Fenty will learn from his mistakes.
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