Taking the Mayor of Charlotte Seriously

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 8 2010 4:34 PM

Taking the Mayor of Charlotte Seriously

Today, the White House started sending out endorsements of the tax cut deal from big city mayors -- i.e., Democratic politicians who won't get to vote on the deal. Snark resulted. Here was mine:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.

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And here was the response from Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary.

In all seriousness (if that's still possible) -- why were we reporters making fun of this? The mayors don't get votes, yes, so their endorsements do nothing to answer the immediate question "will this compromise pass?" They are, however, mayors, who have constituents who pay taxes and/or get unemployment benefits. And prior to these exchanges, you could read stories like this:

Sarah Palin is a conservative author and Fox News commentator. (Prior to August 2009, she was governor of Alaska.) She is influential among conservatives and can help carve out the "correct" position for them on an issue. But there's really no evidence that Palin is or can sway Republican votes against the tax cut compromise -- she has no pull over either of her senators these days -- while mayors of large cities can influence the way their senators vote. So, I suppose, let that be our lesson. (Also, Jennifer Rubin pointed out pretty succinctly why Palin's response was meritless.)

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.