A Texan Thwarts Democracy for D.C.

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Every civic-minded voting resident of Washington, D.C., should be willing to go next year to campaign for the Democratic opponent of GOP Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas. Or at least he or she should send money to that Democrat.

Of course, it may not help since the San Antonio white suburbs are a bastion of right-wing Republicans. But Smith should hear from us anyway.

He was the House member who sent the D.C. voting rights bill to a possible burial by attaching a repeal of Washington's ban on guns. Even some moderate Republicans were angered by Smith's outrageous maneuver.

The nation is spending billions of dollars in Iraq to bring at least a sense of democracy to that war-torn land. But some House members, including Smith and like-minded GOPers, don't want to bring democracy to the nation's capital.

Adrian Fenty, the D.C. mayor, says the restriction on weapons is necessary to thwart violence. He is a far better judge of what the city needs than a Texan playing mayor, judge, and jury.

The bill in question would give the nonvoting D.C. delegate a vote in the House. The current delegate, Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton, can vote in committee but not on the floor, where it really counts.

To build GOP support, backers included adding a House seat in Utah, probably the most Republican state in the nation.

The result is that Norton's vote for the heavily Democratic nation's capital would be neutralized by another member from Utah, where even President Bush is still popular.

Smith's move to push this legislation back to committee was dumb.

One former GOP member with conservative credentials said: "I guess some Republicans care more about guns than democracy."