- The Washington Times - Friday, January 7, 2005

Marion Barry, who earned the appellation of mayor-for-life after winning an unprecedented third term and once again is a member of the D.C. Council, isn’t quite on a tear about the protocols of political life. But he is raising more than a few eyebrows — and hairs on the necks of some ambitious pols.

According to a Jan. 6 article in The Washington Post, Mr. Barry now wants to be referred to as “Mayor-Councilman Barry.” That’s more than a mouthful for anyone who wants to follow his lead. Unfortunately, the current mayor, Tony Williams, is willing to go along.

Others in position to pull rank and follow in Mr. Barry’s political footprints have a different prospective. D.C. Council Chairman Linda Cropp is, like Mr. Barry, a former member of the school board who used that office to springboard to City Hall. She has made quite a name for herself of late, thanks to the great baseball debate. Mrs. Cropp’s name is mentioned for a mayoral run in 2006, too. While she and Mr. Barry share a long list of liberal policies, Mrs. Cropp told The Post that she will not play Mr. Barry’s name-game. The chairman said she will refer to Mr. Barry as “councilman” because, well, “He is a councilman.”

Of course, one can’t take Mr. Barry’s take too seriously. Having been on the Washington scene for four decades, he’s earned an incredibly long list of titles — and not all of them meet the standards of any respectable society list. Indeed, Mr. Barry should be grateful that people who know him, including those who keep more than arm’s length from his liberal politics, followed protocol and referred to him as “Mayor Barry” or “Mr. Mayor” after he left office in 1998.

After he was sworn to yet another council seat on Sunday, his lower office means he’s a council member — and that’s no small measure in a city that has no governor or Senate seats. The legislative badge was good enough for Mr. Barry in 1974, in 1992 and in 2004. Mr. Barry should stop trying to jump ahead of the line and show his gratitude to D.C. voters by wearing his badge honorably.

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