Via Greg, I see there are two editorials discussing State Sen. Jeff Wentworth's biennial quest to pass a bill that would take the chore of redistricting away from the Legislature and hand it to a balanced bipartisan commission. (His bill hasn't been filed yet, or at least you can't find it yet by doing a search for it. Out of curiosity, I called his office and was told it's still being worked on.) I'm perfectly happy to see this happen, and if it does I hope his proposed commission is charged with ensuring that districts are compact and composed of communities of interest, but come on. There's a reason things like this are called "quixotic". The Republican leadership didn't spend six months in 2003 carrying Tom DeLay's water so that Jeff Wentworth could undo it all.
(Idle Machiavellian thought: Wentworth is up for reelection next year. Do you think DeLay and his cronies will threaten to have him primaried if he gets any traction? Wouldn't surprise me, that's for sure.)
I don't want to let my pessimism detract from the rightness of this idea. The voters should be picking the representatives, not the other way around. One thing that really stuck out at me in Byron's post about Martin Frost's effect on increasing Democratic performance in Dallas County was realizing that only one of five Congressional districts which contain a part of Dallas County is represented by a Democrat. Dallas was a fifty-fifty county last November, but the Congressional split is 4-1. I've never said that DeLay isn't good at what he does, just that what he does isn't good.
(For comparison purposes: Harris County's delegation is 4-3 GOP, Bexar's is 2-2, El Paso is 1-1, Tarrant is 4-0, and poor butchered Travis is 2-1.)
UPDATE: Byron notes in the comments that Wentworth was nearly knocked off in the primary in 2002:
JOHN H. SHIELDS REP 25,265 48.82%
JEFF WENTWORTH(I) REP 26,481 51.17%