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Lamar Smith’s Would-Be Banana Republic | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Lamar Smith’s Would-Be Banana Republic

Just when 600,000 permanent residents of the District of Columbia were about to receive voting representation (you remember it, Lamar – that thing we fought the King of England for) approval from the House, the Texas Republican tied up the bill by attempting to use it to gut the city's gun restrictions.

This ploy reflects the most craven, cynical, inside the Beltway maneuvering since – well – just months ago when we kicked these anti-democratic, power-hungry cronies out of the Majority.

"Galling," said FairVote Executive Director, Rob Richie. "Particularly the combination of overruling home rule decisions about gun control in DC while also fighting to deny the District representation in Congress. What hypocrisy!"

If Richie sounds mad, he is. And he should be. As our government lectures the world on the fruits of democracy, people like Smith continue to treat our fellow citizens--living in the backyard of Congress-- as subjects on some outlying Banana Republic. For Smith and his ilk, there's a gut fear of promoting greater democracy here at home.

But proponents of the bill will not be deterred – and the residents of the District are sure to be even more fired up.

"We are already working closely with the Democratic leadership, our Republican allies, and coalition partners to regroup," DC Vote Executive Director Ilir Zherka said today. "This is a momentary pause in the push to bring civil rights to the residents of the District of Columbia. [We] will use this time to defeat these stall tactics and bring congressional voting representation to Washington, DC."

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