“Partisanship is better than going in circles, holding hands, singing kumbaya while Rodney King makes sure we’re all getting along.”
While I favor nonpartisan redistricting commissions, I don’t have a serious problem with the way things are now. Sure, I didn’t like it when the Democrats were in charge and drawing lines in their favor, but I didn’t think it was some how awfully unfair — they won so they had the advantage.
I’ve got to disagree with Will on two points. First, I think Jim Wooten is right, the Democrats did lose because they overreached on gerrymandering. It had become so difficult for the Democrats in Georgia to draw lines that favored them, they had to create some pretty obscure districts. The state had trended Republican. When a court threw out the districts and had them redrawn, boom! The state legislature began reflecting the demographic trends.
Neither party can go on forever with any redistricting scheme. At some point the scheme butts up against constitutional strictures. For the reverse, look to Pennsylvania where the GOP did the same thing as the Georgia Democrats. Several seats the GOP thought safe due to gerrymandering flipped to the Democrats and the GOP lost control of the PA General Assembly.
Where I strongly disagree with Will is on this point:
Because of the competitive nature of their districts, they are forced to be responsive to their constituents and are discouraged from being demogogic partisan hacks like many state representatives tend to be.
Now I know Will fancies himself nonpartisan to a degree, and perhaps that is to his credit. But I think most readers of this site, whether Democrat or Republican, are partisan creatures — and I think that is a good thing.
In the 1960’s when the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights legislation were being passed, President Johnson relied on individuals in safe seats to advance the ball. In the 1980’s, President Reagan relied on individuals in safe seats to pass comprehensive tax reforms. In the 1990’s, President Clinton relied on individuals in safe seats to pass free trade agreements, tax reforms, and attempted healthcare reforms. Why?
Because the mushy middle is generally composed of a bunch of frigtards who are easily persuaded by the gospel of the nightly news and television commercials. And yes, that’s mean of me to say, but you all know damn well it’s the truth.1
The folks who are generally out pooh-poohing the evil partisans in Congress are the same folks who hear how factory X will be shut down and people A, B, and C will be jobless and they are horrified that their Congressman might vote for a trade agreement, regardless of the fact that service center Y will open and hire people A, B, and C as a result.
In short, the mushy middle is easily persuaded by hyperbolic attacks and if we ever want to move forward in this country, we need some people in safe seats to pick up the ball and run with it, whether Democrat or Republican. Yes, I recognize that sometimes I will lose because of that. But sometimes I’ll win. Partisanship is better than going in circles, holding hands, singing kumbaya while Rodney King makes sure we’re all getting along.
If Massachusetts were not a solidly Democrat state, gay marriage would have never happened. Were Georgia not a solid red state, the gay marriage ban would never have happened. Were California not a solid blue state, aggressive environmental laws could never have been passed. Were Texas not a solidly red state, aggressive insurance and litigation reforms would have never happened. The state would have had to wait for “the people