Editorial: Step Down, Michael Brown
Drop out of the race.
We make this plea because, as we all know, most of the votes you are getting are based on the misimpression that you are the Michael A. Brown, the present At-large Councilmember with very high name recognition. Because of his high name recognition, you, Michael D. Brown, could be elected to the Council under what are essentially false pretenses – without the voters having a chance to examine your credentials and your platform.
According to a Washington Post poll and a must-read interview by Post reporter Mike DeBonis, you are benefiting from the name "confusion" to the tune of a 12-percentage-point lead over incumbent and once-assumed front runner Phil Mendelson.
We're using middle initials here, but voters won't have that benefit, because you chose to use the ambiguous "Michael Brown" on the ballot.
You are not playing fair with the voters. You have not mounted a serious campaign in the At-large race. You entered to "make D.C. statehood a focus for the council," you said. Yet, you have not appeared at forums, you have not raised money, you have not rallied statehood supporters. Even your posters highlight “Democrat,” and barely mention “statehood.”
Ironically, this is the sort of maneuver, resulting in who knows how many erroneous votes, that makes Washington, D.C. a perennial butt of jokes and an easy target for disrespect in our nation. Rush Limbaugh, are you ready? Because of Michael D. Brown, even statehood could become a punchline in late-night comedy routines.
The District's voters should not be subjected to this damaging sleight of hand. Michael D. Brown, you should call Phil Mendelson and say: “I will drop out and endorse you if it’s done at a press conference with you and your colleagues who have endorsed you -- including D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray and Councilmember Michael A. Brown -- and you make a renewed commitment to D.C. statehood.”
This press conference will do two things: 1) It will get the real attention and commitment to statehood you say you want, and 2) It will make you an honest politician with the real political identity to hold these Councilmembers to their promise.
The Georgetown Dish has endorsed Phil Mendelson due to his strong record on good government and representing the full spectrum of D.C.'s neighborhoods and community concerns. But, with due respect, Mendelson is beside the point in this case.
This is about basic integrity, the District's reputation, and the rights due all our citizens, up to and including statehood. For the good of all of us, step down, Michael D. Brown.