- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Her own words have come back to haunt her.

Muriel Bowser is no Donald Trump, whose opinion pass his lips sometimes with nary a filtered thought. Neither is she Hillary Clinton, although like a loyal Democrat, she announced her endorsement of her party sister, as did the majority of D.C. lawmakers.

We have a ways to go before we learn whether Miss Bowser’s words will hit and stick, but she isn’t having a great time as we head into midweek.

I mean, what did she do? Wake up this week and challenge the universe with the two-word declarative “bite me?”

The mayor’s onerous anti-gun position and her attempt to slip a homeless policy past residents and lawmakers prove Miss Bowser has yet to fully grasp the democratic reality that there are three branches to the D.C. governance tree — and she merely controls only one.

Understand, Miss Bowser does not like guns, which is cool. However, as chief executive, the mayor apparently overstepped her authority by allowing a conceal carry caveat to slip into law.

We should have known her personal beliefs would spread into her policy when, in January 2015, just a few days after her swearing in, Miss Bowser said: “You have a mayor who hates guns. If it was up to me, we wouldn’t have any handguns in the District of Columbia. I swear to protect the [U.S.] Constitution and what the courts say, but I will do it in the most restrictive way as possible.”

Well, she opened her mouth and the courts stepped in on Tuesday, striking down the city’s so-called “good reason” to receive a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

Federal Judge Richard Leon said in his ruling: “In Heller, the Supreme Court unequivocally asserted that ‘the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. The District’s understandable, but overly zealous, desire to restrict the right to carry in public a firearm for self-defense to the smallest possible number of law-abiding, responsible citizens is exactly the type of policy choice the justices had in mind. Because the right to bear arms includes the right to carry firearms for self-defense both in and outside the home, I find that the District’s ‘good reason’ requirement likely places an unconstitutional burden on this right.”

See what I mean? Even the judge (“restricted”) bit Miss Bowser with her own word (“restrictive”).

That takes care of the judicial branch. Let’s check in with the legislative, shall we?

Miss Bowser blew her stack Tuesday after the majority of council members sided with a rewrite of her homeless plan, dropping an F bomb and shouting at D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson as if he had cut his puppet strings.

The mayor’s ambitious proposal, which never sat well with homeowners, was intended to move families out of the funky shelter near the RFK Stadium-D.C. Armory area and into smaller shelters around the city. Her plan did not come close to ending the homeless problem.

Perhaps Miss Bowser should never have punctuated her proposal with a challenge. Indeed, her smart-alecky comment, when asked to reconsider her site plans for the smaller shelter in Ward 5 was: “I didn’t hear him propose an alternative.” “Him” referred to Ward 5 member Kenyan McDuffie, who now backs the Mendelson plan. His constituents have his back.

What a gutsy political move.

The plan that lawmakers are pondering is similar to Miss Bowser’s in that it won’t put a major dent in homelessness, either. It would undo much of Miss Bowser’s by proposing the smaller shelters be built on city-owned land instead of land owned by developers, and it would save a few bucks, among other things.

Then there’s the spate of shootings during a five-hour period in broad daylight Monday that seemingly left the mayor at a loss for words.

With five people shot and two of them dead, Miss Bowser stood alongside police Chief Cathy Lanier at a nighttime presser and said: “We are just horrified by what we saw today,” Miss Bowser said. “It’s a level of violence that’s not acceptable in our city. And we are going to put every single resource — police and otherwise — to get rid of this violence.”

Wait for it “a level of violence that’s not acceptable.” Should we want to be overwhelmed like Chicago? Or go back to the good ol’ crack days, when we were the “murder capital of the country?”

Just what “level of violence” is acceptable?

And begging again, the mayor seems to be implying that she is not employing “every single resources — police and otherwise — to get rid of this violence.”

Politicians sometimes say things they do not mean, and we all know as much. (Mr. Trump’s name is on that list, and Mrs. Clinton keeps a Sharpie at the ready.) Understood.

It’s just that either Miss Bowser has lost her way or the council, where she held legislative sway before becoming chief executive, is trying to show her how things really work. That is to say, Miss Bowser is the, ahem, handmaiden of the council.

If you’re one of those who think that sounds sexist, get over it.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]

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