Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Now see what they've gone and started

The Washington Post is reporting that Republican lawmakers in Ohio have taken inspiration from their counterparts in Texas and are looking at making mid-decade changes to their own congressional districts.

"Ohio Democrats emerged unscathed from redistricting after the 2000 census when district lines were redrawn to reflect changes in population -- even though the GOP controlled the entire process. The reason? Republicans did not want to anger Rep. Sherrod Brown (D), who threatened to run against Gov. Bob Taft if his district was changed."

So now that Gov. Taft has been safely re-elected, the Republicans are considering changes to congressional lines that would "reshape the seats of Brown, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D), and possibly other House members."

And apparently, now that the Texas GOP has set the precendent, they no longer need any other reason to redraw districts at any given time other than it would give them more of a partisan advantage.

Texas Republicans are unhappy with a 2001 court-drawn plan because it was not gerrymandered enough in their favor. Instead, the court drew a neutral plan that corrected past gerrymandering excesses by Democrats. But Republicans feel that a neutral plan is not good enough to correct for the years of Democratic gerrymandering that came before and are demanding the redistricting equivalent of affirmative action for the GOP.

"The question is: How partisan do they want to look in one of the key states in a presidential election?" says Rep. Brown. "There will be a political price to pay for them. That's not a threat; it's an observation."

I don't think Tom Delay and Karl Rove are worried about looking too partisan. This is political warfare and as far as they are concerned all of the civility, traditions, agreements and compromises of the past are out the window.

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