Gray Survives Tough Week

Barrington M. Salmon | 7/25/2012, 11:24 a.m.

Smith took Bowser to task for her role in calling for Gray to step down.

"She should be ashamed of herself," said Smith. "Muriel should sit her little self down and not stick with those racists Cheh and Catania. They will use her and dispose of her."

Johnny Barnes agrees.

"Shame on you Cheh, Graham, Catania," said Barnes, former executive director of the National Capital Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. "You easily cast aside constitutional law. Shame for saying that Gray shouldn't have due process. In America, we have an investigation, not an inquisition, evidence, not 'evidently.' We celebrate Times Square, not Tiananmen Square. Gossip, innuendo, whispering. That's not the way we do this. And just because you associated with a bad person, doesn't make you a bad person."

Barnes, a 65-year-old Southwest D.C. resident, said any case of this nature requires reasonable doubt and that can only come after a detailed and thorough review of all the evidence. Anything less would be a miscarriage of justice, he added.

Local political consultant and commentator Chuck Thies concurs, saying if Gray stepped aside it would create a disastrous precedent for his successors.

"If you resign, how will future mayors deal with enemies, opportunistic politicians, the chattering class and a rabid media? A resignation tendered amidst a storm of unfounded accusations would set a dangerous precedent," he said. "Don't do it. Be stronger than your critics."

He said the sharks - in the form of politicians and pundits - smell blood and a feeding frenzy is underway.

"Council members ... called on Gray to resign.Harry Jaffe of the Washingtonian wants to void the 2010 election results and conduct a do-over. Alan Suderman, aka Loose Lips, of the Washington City Paper tweeted that Gray is "on the edge of the abyss."

"Hogwash," said Thies.

None of them has a specific answer to the question of what crime Gray has committed, and no one has proven that he knew about the shadow campaign, Thies said.

"Is it possible that aides and supporters who conspired to break laws in an effort to get Gray elected kept him in the dark? Very much so," he said. "The purpose of a campaign is to get your guy elected. You do not want him to win and then go into office immersed in problems created by the campaign. So, you build a wall around your candidate to insulate him from harm and scandal. As such, it is entirely plausible that Gray's supporters orchestrated this entire affair without his knowledge."

Thies ridiculed those calling for Gray's ouster, saying Gray has committed no crime. Furthermore, Thies said, the $650,000 did not sway the election in Gray's favor given Fenty's massive $5 million war-chest.