With a backbone made of cheese

D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams intends to sign the emergency legislation passed recently by the D.C. City Council to “clarify” the intention of D.C. strict DUI laws.. Given the outcry generated by the recent articles in The Washington Post, this comes as little surprise. Politics doesn’t imply good policy, so whatever. But there are interesting rationales thrown about in this discussion. Consider:

Williams (D) had criticized the emergency bill as a “hastily written” reaction to public complaints from a small number of drivers. But yesterday, Williams said he would sign the bill because he is “making progress” in negotiations with D.C. Council members over the shape of permanent legislation.

“I’m not completely enthusiastic about it. But I sign a lot of things that I’m not completely enthusiastic about,” Williams told reporters at his weekly news conference.

Ummm, the D.C. City Council passed emergency legislation to fix this. Presumably, they changed the law to reflect what they wanted. How is signing it, even though it doesn’t achieve the Mayor’s intended result (drivers with a BAC .05 or greater should be presumed drunk), going to convince the City Council to renegotiate? I wouldn’t renegotiate if I got what I wanted on the first try. If the Mayor’s purpose is similar to Tim Kaine’s objections but promise to upheld the death penalty if he’s elected governor, I might understand his argument. But he’s not saying that. He’s saying he thinks the law is bad, but he’ll sign it because that’ll help him get what he thinks is appropriate later, after negotiations. Danielle and I should’ve used that strategy when we bought our house.

This strikes me as a ceremonial protest, which is stupid and pointless, like President Bush’s repeated threats to veto anything. But they all did something, so the people win. Right?