- The Washington Times - Monday, March 6, 2006

Anthony Williams thinks the mayor of the nation’s capital deserves a grander title, and wants his successor to be called “governor.” In addition to the grander (if not grandiose) title, as “governor” of the District of Columbia he might even talk his way into sessions of the National Governors Conference.

“The reason we are not allowed into the party is because I don’t have the title of governor,” Mr. Williams says. “For the next mayor, we should consider — and I would support — changing the title.”

His Honor - perhaps we should call him His Excellency, or even His Eminence - may be on to something. A famous Chinese sage famously said that “a man getting drunk at a farewell party should strike a musical tone, in order to strengthen his spirit … and a drunk military man should order gallons of drink and put out more flags in order to increase his military splendor.” If generals can do it drunk, a mayor could do it sober.

In fact, the title “governor” strikes us as not grand enough. Canada has a Governor General, whose full title is “His Excellency the Right Honorable blah blah.” The Canadians, who are big enough now to wear long pants, inherited the title from the days when Canada was a mere province of Old Blighty, and if it was good enough for the royals it should be almost good enough for the District of Columbia. Governor General Williams sounds particularly saucy in French (nearly everything does), where the title would be “Son Excellence la tres Honorable Anthony Williams.”

Our governor general was in Iceland only the other day, more or less the guest of honor at a confabulation of eminent chefs from London, Munich, Helsinki, Oslo and Washington, and from the reliable accounts we hear he was accorded most of the perks not of a governor, but of a president or at least a prime minister, getting to sit at the head table at a gala dinner and fussed over by Icelandic hotties. Perhaps it was his junket to Reykjavik that whetted his appetite for more and bigger flags.

Some of the grandees of the District government have yearned for years for the rewards and grandeur of statehood, though there is evidence almost every day that we have not yet got Districthood quite right. The members of the District Council have an abundance of grand perks nonetheless, having given themselves their own cable-television network and the right to park anywhere they want to without fear of a parking ticket, and if the debates in the District Council do not quite measure up to the windy standards of the United States Senate, the aldermen, as they would be called in other cities, are grand enough for the company of a governor general.

The dreamy advocates of District statehood remind us of the man who asked Abraham Lincoln how many legs would a dog have if he called the dog’s tail a leg. “Four,” Honest Abe replied. “You can call his tail a leg, but it’s still a tail.” A city is a city is a city, after all. But we can aspire to stateliness if not statehood. We once had two Shadow Senators, though no one has seen them lately and at least one of them left town to get a job. So why not a Governor General? Could New York, Chicago or even Los Angeles match that?

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