The last time I wrote about Tom DeLay having a "hissy fit," one of his taxpayer-financed henchwomen called in a rage. Well, she or a successor can poise bejeweled fingers atop the nearest touch-tone keypad, because the U.S. House majority leader is on the verge of another hissy fit.
DeLay's head, in fact, may explode if he can't cajole-threaten the Republican majorities in the Texas Legislature into reopening the can of worms known as U.S. House redistricting. His erstwhile partisan colleagues in Austin, much to their credit, are stalling, but the nation's best-known bug man will not easily take "no" for an answer.
Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, took up the cudgels after the Dallas Morning News (in an editorial position it shares with the Chronicle) criticized the idea of revisiting the redistricting issue.
Sessions said there was not only a "need" to redraw U.S. House lines but "a constitutional duty" for the Legislature to do so. Hogwash. There's no "need" or "constitutional duty" until after the 2010 federal census. Anything before that is political tinkering.
Sessions crunches some numbers and argues for redistricting because Republicans candidates for the U.S. House in Texas got 2.3 million votes as against 1.9 million for Democratic candidates. Surely Sessions, an ideologically white-as-snow Republican, is not arguing for political quotas.
It's rich that Sessions is brazen enough to stick his head above the parapet at all in this debate. The court-approved district plan established a new seat in northwest Dallas County that is overwhelmingly Republican. In about two nanoseconds, Sessions fled his old, more political iffy seat headquartered in Southeast Dallas to run from the safer territory. In British parliamentary parlance, this is known (with good reason) as a "chicken run."
I'll add that the Dallas Morning News is a dependably conservative paper, so if they aren't too enthusiastic about DeLay's little scheme, no other major paper is likely to be either. I'll keep an eye on this, but I don't expect anything further to happen.Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 17, 2003 to Other punditry | TrackBack