Monday, August 19th, 2019

The city where they live


President Barack Obama may be in charge of the White House, but the city surrounding him just got new leadership. Local liberals won’t be happy.

The elections last night didn’t just send Gray officially to the Wilson Building and give the United States its first-ever orange presumptive speaker of the House—they also left Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz in charge of our fair city, at least as far as the House of Representatives is concerned. The good news: City Paper will have no shortage of material over the next two years, as Chaffetz meddles with District affairs whenever things look awry to him from his cot in the Rayburn Building. The bad news: Everything else about Chaffetz taking over.

Dave Weigel, writing for the City Paper, explains why liberals will be unhappy with Chaffetz.

…the first-term congressman from Utah will run the obscurely named Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Washingtonians who understand the unusual legal control Congress wields over the District, though, will know him by a simpler title: the new boss.

Chaffetz’s elevation would represent quite a change. In just under two years here, Chaffetz has opposed Norton’s bill to give D.C. a congressional vote, opposed her bill to give D.C. more autonomy, and filed a bill to force a gay marriage referendum on D.C. And in a Republican House, Chaffetz would have reinforcements, ideological allies who wave the U.S. Constitution like members of the Red Guard used to wave quotations from Chairman Mao.

According to Chaffetz, poking around in the District’s local affairs and keeping D.C. from getting a meaningful vote in Congress is precisely what he was sent to Washington to do. He defeated an incumbent in Utah’s 3rd Congressional District’s Republican primary in 2008 by running to his right on immigration as well as on the more amorphous issue of faithfulness to the Constitution—a platform that, for Chaffetz, included opposing a vote for D.C.

Think of it like General Douglas MacArthur’s time governing Japan.

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