July 30, 2003
New Mexican Standoff, day 2

(Note: the subject is cribbed from a commenter on Atrios or Daily Kos, I can't remember which at this point. Someone other than me came up with it and I thought it was funny.)

Rob has a decent answer to my question about the House passing the same ol' map. I think his scenario makes a lot of sense, but I have my doubts that it will happen. Giving in on the blocker bill just has to be seen as a defeat for the GOP, and at this point I'm not sure how much trust the Dems are willing to put into any promises that Dewhurst will make them. Still, Rob is absolutely right about the fact that sooner or later, these guys have to come back to Austin, whether it's next week or 2005.

This DMN article offers a suggestion that Rob's hypothesis may come true:


While maps under consideration during the regular session and the first 30-day special session would have boosted GOP seats in Congress from 15 to 20 or 21, the Republican lieutenant governor suggested he was open to a more modest gain.

"A fair map is one that reflects the voting trends of the state, that protects our minority rights and our minority communities, that doesn't cut communities of interest and to me this is simply to me has about 19 seats," Mr. Dewhurst said in an interview on TXCN (cable Channel 38).


(Psst! Dave! Check out the Wentworth and Armbrister plans. And burn this note!)

Byron has a good roundup to get your morning started, along with a post on Polstate. I posted an afternoon news update there yesterday. Josh Marhsall is bemused by several aspects of this story. Julia has an appropriate response for the Governor's current they're-hurting-the-children! attack on the Dems, which you can read about here. This is my favorite bit from the article:


Democrats and Republican Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn said they found the governor's newfound interest in health care spending surprising.

Strayhorn had been rebuffed when she repeatedly asked Perry to let lawmakers appropriate the money for health care during the first special session.

"Let me tell you on the record, after the governor's statement from yesterday, I fully expected for the governor to let the Legislature vote on health care funding," Strayhorn said. "I was surprised that this was not added to the call today."


Indeed. Elsewhere, the Chron describes the Dems' getaway, which like its Ardmore predecessor was done in secret and in haste. The El Paso Democrats have vowed to help the boycotting Senators with any supplies they might need, while New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson says he may consider some redistricting of his own if the Texas GOP doesn't back down.

Redistricting should be done only after new U.S. Census Bureau numbers are reported every 10 years and not rammed through the Legislature by a dominant political party just because its members disagree with election results, Richardson said.

"I have refrained from taking those steps. I will leave the door slightly opened because I'm concerned about Republican efforts in Texas, Colorado and other parts of the country to disenfranchise voters," he said. "I don't want redistricting. I think it's wrong, especially in a year that is not a redistricting year."


Keep an eye on that one.

More editorials:

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal calls Governor Perry a disappointment and compares him to a "spoiled 2-year-old child".

The Chron calls the endless fight for redistricting madness.

The Waco Trib really smacks the Governor, whom they call a "well-pressed con man". This needs some quoting:


How hypocritical is Perry in light of the partisan meltdown over redistricting? Let us count the ways.

----1. His silence was deafening----

Perry speaks now about $800 million in newly freed-up money that could go to human services if the Democrats would only come back. What was he saying during Special Session No. 1? Nothing.

[...]

If Perry really wanted to direct $800 million to social services, all he had to do was put it on the agenda. Instead, legislation he supported would have routed the extra money into an "emergency fund" under the control of the governor and the Legislative Budget Board.

Just how many Texans would benefit from that, Mr. Governor?

----2. He dropped ball in 2001----

Perry is the very last person on the planet to be saying, "It is lawmakers' responsibility, not the courts', to redraw congressional lines." That responsibility sat snugly in his lap in 2001. He brushed it off like lint.

[...]

----3. He would dispense with rules----

Whenever Perry uses the words "fair" or "fairness," he isn't thinking that way when it comes to the legislative process and redistricting.


Harsh.

The Lufkin Daily News compares the whole thing to the movie Groundhog Day.

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times also uses the term madness, but they're actually pretty mellow about the whole thing.

Finally, the El Paso Times, which was nearly alone in condemning the Democrats for the Ardmore walkout, condemns everyone for the current boycott.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 30, 2003 to Killer D's | TrackBack
Comments

No voter is being disenfranchised whether the governor's surname attached to a redistricting effort is Richardson or Perry.

That seems to be a favorite word among Dems, but it's become one of the least meaningful used in political discourse today.

Furthermore, if there were a constitutional requirement that redistricting only take place at certain times, I could live with that. It would make sense. But there's not in Texas, the process followed thus far (whatever one's opinion of its merits) is perfectly consistent with the constitutional design of this state, and Mr. Richardson, frankly, should probably concentrate on his own state and leave Texans to resolve their constitutional and political issues.

Of course, he'd like to be the Veep nominee one of these years, so I guess he feels obligated to score points with the base with inflammatory comments. Whatever.

Surely sensible Democrats don't really believe all of us Republicans are just out to "disenfranchise" minority voters in any state we can? Because that's effectively Richardson's charge. I take offense. This isn't just a blogger carrying on, but a prominent national Democrat.

Time to get back to NFL news. Maybe we should put Bill Parcells in charge of redistricting.

Posted by: Kevin Whited on July 30, 2003 10:03 AM

I'm not very bright, and I live in a socialist country(Hawaii), but it seems to me that "consistent with constitutional design" and "attempt to intentionally alter a system for political advantage outside of normal procedures" are not mutually exclusive terms. I haven't seen anyone try to justify the actions of Mr. Lott and the Governor with anything other than political advantage. If the gloves come off of one player, no one should complain when everyone else takes theirs off as well.

Posted by: Ron on July 30, 2003 2:45 PM

Well Kuff, I think you and I should resolve this thing. Get you, me, and a bottle of Jack Black in one of the TLC's computer rooms and we'll thrash out a compromise map that would get past a blocker bill.

Here's the steps:
1. Have a drink.
2. Get a commitment from Cong. Hall on whether or not he's retiring.
3. Another drink.
4. Study the King/Wentworth/Staples/Armbrister maps. Make fun of each of them.
5. Tilt back a glass.
6. Draw an 18R-14D plan. If Ralph Hall doesn't retire I'll compromise on 17R-15D.
7. Have a drink to celebrate.
8. Gather the Senators and explain things to them. Bend some elbows and do a little bribing to get the plan through. (Mental note to self: Buy more whiskey.)
9. Watch with pride as this plan gets passed.
10. Go drinking with Senators.

Cheers!

(I'm actually sober at the present time.)

Posted by: Rob Booth (Slightly Rough) on July 30, 2003 5:23 PM

You've got a deal, Rob. Have your people talk to my people, and we'll make this happen. :-)

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on July 30, 2003 5:31 PM

Chatting about this with my husband, he thought the Dems might've made better PR by fleeing to California instead of NM. Conflating their flight with the Gray Davis recall may make a good demonstration for voters of how the GOP has been monkeying with the rules to try to overturn elections when they don't like the results.

Posted by: Lis on July 30, 2003 10:46 PM