Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Drawing the Line[s], Part 2

Today's LAT picks up from yesterday's NYT story on the upcoming redistricting war (potential war, I suppose) - focusing on Congressional GOP pushback on the Guv's supposed plan to redraw the lines before the '06 cycle.

For the record, mid-decade redistricting is bad for policy and misses the point of the reform.

Wait, wait, though, if you look at the language, Congressional GOPers aren't against the redistricting, they just want to be exempt. Typical.

A Sacramento area consultant has submitted a reform proposal exempting Congress - one of many proposals you can assume will circulate in the coming weeks. Which is, of course, an excellent example of the problem with the initiative process: try explaining the nuances to the average mall shopper who's more focused on hitting Cinnabon and the Nordy's Half Yearly. Who knows what we'll end up with on the ballot!

There's also no shortage of Stag influence (stagfluence?) on this issue between Big GOPer David Dreier's ('75) opposition and the Rose Institute of State and Local Government's draft language. Dreier fails miserably at shutting down debate, however by offering that he's "sympathetic that we haven't had competitive races, but that's nothing new." Mr. Dreier - you're usually so much more erudite - and that statement lacks a certain vision . . .

The article quotes a number of California Congressional Republicans who really aren't as scared of new lines as they should be. It's a fairly safe bet that even when they envision new lines, they fall roughly around the existing districts. I'd urge them to talk to their Arizona colleauges. At one point, I think we had 12 incumbents drawn into one district. Bummer for them, hooray for Democracy.

So they're right to be afraid in the long term, but in the short term, they could help policy overall by pushing for a proposal that doesn't include mid-decade redistricting. The long term consequences, however, will be unavoidable and potentiall bad for them. But the voters, and the republic generally, stand to be the real winners.

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