1) I already knew it four years ago
I've read the various analysis about why DC Mayor Adrian Fenty got booted out of office by voters just four years after winning a landslide election., In addition to all of the other explanations, I'll add one that I have yet to read, but knew four years ago: He's an asshole.
2) Would they boo his kids, too?
I was at Fenty's inauguration party back in 2006. People were protesting him that night. That's because he waited until after he won the primary in 2005 to announce that he was taking over the schools. A lot of the people who supported him would not have voted for him if he had mentioned he would take over the schools. So he lied his way into office anyway. Not the first to do so, I know.
3) Activists in DC want a listener
I have mixed feelings about Fenty getting kicked out. Yes, he's an asshole, but then, he did some stuff as mayor that was pretty good. Such as taking over the schools (actually, I would have given a voucher to every student). DC is a city where community activists and others can talk you to death. After enough input, someone needs to make a decision. A problem with Fenty is that he was great at keeping his actions a secret and did not even bother with the input phrase. Community people would show up at meetings to find out that things had been decided. People who went along with it were kept involved, people raising questions got squeezed out.
Fenty (and his predecessor, Anthony Williams) didn't realize that one of the things that makes Marion Barry so popular even today. Barry was also a talker, but he seemed to realize as a former activist that activists want to have their say almost as much as love to be given jobs and money.
4) You give hardball, you get hardball in return
Fenty plays hardball all of the time. Some people may not remember the way he kicked out former superintendent Janey--he kept the guy twisting in the wind for a month, then just before he gained control of the schools, he cut off Janey's email and (I'm guessing) gave him about 8 minutes to clean out his office. That's how fast it happened. I'm not saying that style is wrong, I may have done the same thing, but then, I would not have pretended that I was a man of the people who listened to everyone. And you don't see me running for mayor.
Before the Janey-Rhee switcheroo, Fenty had kept the city council and the entire city in the dark before he suddenly announced that he was appointing a white chick to be police chief. There was outrage about that and other Fenty appointments.
5) Not a bean-counting mayor
The main thing that probably did Fenty in was that he refused to be the black people's mayor. He tried to be multicultural by appointing Asians. Latinos, whites, and (I'm guessing) gays to prominent positions in the government and his cabinet. I actually believed him when he said he was trying to find the best people for the job. The non-blacks he hired then brought non-black people with them. That strategy worked perfectly if his goal was to be a one-term mayor.
6) Obama ain't dumb
Some are comparing Obama to Fenty but I don't think the comparison holds. One, Obama is much smarter than Fenty. Two, Obama is the only black choice blacks have. If some other black person with credibility were in a position to challenge Obama then President Fo-Fo might be in trouble. But the two main candidates in DC are both black, and it was for mayor, not president, so no biggie.
7) Michelle Rhee
Another big factor is definitely Michelle Rhee. She was a lot like Fenty--secretive, tough. But the biggest problem is that she's Asian and was unknown to district people before she became chancellor. Her midnight appointment drove the activists crazy, they were on a mission to have her booted out and worked against Fenty almost from the start. No matter what nice things anyone says, she will not remain in a Gray administration. She will head off to Sacramento to be with Kevin Johnson and mull over her offers that will come through. I heard she will be on Oprah's show on September 20 (along with Bill Gates). She is big enough that she will not want to wait for Gray to make a decision about whether or not to keep her. Her next job, whatever it is, will be much softer than being chancellor of DC public schools.
8) Lost his supporters
Here's how bad it got for Fenty--there were allegations in the past few weeks that Fenty beat his wife. Some of the black talk shows hosts who had supported him early on didn't challenge the rumors. Rather, they listened patiently and mentioned that they had heard similar rumors.