By Richard Hébert
As I watched former Vice President Richard “Darth Vader” Cheney’s recent performance on “Meet the Press,” I was chillingly reminded of that indelible scene in the 1992 movie, “A Few Good Men.” Jack Nicholson, as Marine Col. Jessup, is court martialed for ordering a “code red” hazing that resulted in the death of a young marine. The prosecuting attorney, played by Tom Cruise, demands the truth of him.
Nicholson shouts at him from the witness stand: “You can’t handle the truth!” His elaboration is laced with sneers and snarls:
“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it?”
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Ward 6 resident and education advocate Peter MacPherson lamented to me about the potential loss of a D.C. Council Committee on Education: “Have you heard that [Chairman Phil] Mendelson is thinking about returning it to the Committee of the Whole?”
I was incredulous.
I know. Many people think it’s crazy: Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser — a woman who, by her own admission, has never managed more than 50 people — selects as her city administrator Rashad Young, the city manager of Alexandria, where he oversees 3,700 workers and a $630 million budget. The District has more than 30,000 employees and an $11 billion budget.
Those numbers make clear the two municipalities are worlds apart — in size, financial and structural complexities and political dynamics. Understandably, some folks, including D.C. Council members and civic leaders, are anxious. They told me they think Young is too young and too inexperienced for the job.
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