Thursday, January 06, 2005

I Hate Irony

Kevin Drum is depressed. So am I. Why? Because California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed something that he and I both agree with wholeheartedly: ending partisan control of the redistricting process.

It is clear to me that partisan redistricting is one of the great plagues on our Democracy (NOTE: A new paper questions whether redistricting actually harms competitiveness in Congressional races. Mark Schmitt buys most of the paper's conclusions, but contests that specific one). Texas was the most flagrant manifestation of this, but it hardly is unique. The lack of competition in California's 52 congressional districts shows that Texas is not alone. In theory, then, I support Arnold's intiative. So what's the problem? Over to Drum:
So why am I depressed? Because the insanely partisan atmosphere of contemporary American politics means I can't support this proposal even though I think it would be good for the state. After watching Texas Republicans ram through a brutally gerrymandered mid-decade redistricting that gained the Republican party four congressional seats in the 2004 election, how stupid would a California Democrat have to be to agree to meekly support a goo-goo proposal that would have the effect of giving Republicans more seats in yet another state? Guys like Tom DeLay and Hugh Hewitt would be guffawing in their beers for days about our terminal naivete if we went along with this. Raw power would be their ally in red states and appeals to progressive idealism would be their ally in the blue states. That's quite a combination.

Chalk up another reason to detest DeLay and Co. Even if we want to play fair, we can't because its political suicide. We all have to race toward moral destruction in the longterm because to do otherwise would be political destruction in the short term. All because DeLay and his pals don't believe in abiding by basic ethical standards. Curse you.


Mark said...

I see it's DeLay and Co that invented redistricting? You're a blogger for heavens sake. You aren't on anyone's payroll. So stop writing like a partisan hack and support good ideas no matter where their provenance.

If you have ideas that you think are good, but might no be along party lines, so what? Write it up.

H said...

I think almost everyone agrees that it would be more fair if redistricting was not under the jurisdiction of state legislatures. The problem, as noted, is that democratic backing of this proposal without some very significant Republican concessions - which are unlikely to occur - would consolidate Republican gains. Since I believe increasing the majority of either party in a polarized society is, on face, antithetical to democracy, reform should be tabled for the near future.

Once I see evidence of bipartisanship, I'll reconsider that position. But I'm not holding my breath.

H said...

As for the wee personal attack that took up nearly the whole of the above comment, I can personally say that nothing is farther from the truth. The implication that Schraub is merely following the democratic line is patently false. If nothing else, it seems self-evident that his foreign policy views don't mesh with many democrats. It's fine with me if you disagree with the analysis presented, but I'd be a lot more receptive if you, say, refuted some of that analysis instead of slandering the writer.