A redistricting plan only a mother could love
December 20, 2011By Dave Davies
Pretty damn ugly.
That's about all you can say about the Congressional redistricting map Pennsylvania Republican leaders came up with last week. Actually, that isn't all you can say.
You could say Republican U.S. Rep Pat Meehan's new 7th District in the Philly suburbs resembles Kerberos, the three-headed dog guarding the Gates of Hades. That's what a lawmaker told Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Just look at that district in the map above, along with the ridiculous 6th District, carved out ten years ago to suit then State Sen. Jim Gerlach, who now represents it in Congress.
Bumsted notes that after promising a process that would be the most transparent ever, Republicans delivered one "as secretive as any over the past 30 years." Bumsted doubts it would be have been any different had the Democrats had control.
The Harrisburg Patriot-News wrote in an editorial last week:
"Pennsylvania Republican leaders might as well just stand up and admit they gerrymandered the congressional district map...the state Senate approved the map at 11:20 p.m. Wednesday, only a day after releasing it. There were no public hearings, no public comments and, frankly, barely enough time for anyone to see the map, let alone digest it. The only time lawmakers try to hide something is when it stinks, and this is a case of a grossly flawed map and redistricting process that smells."
One of the most interesting things I've seen on this appeared yesterday in the Harrisburg online news service Capitolwire.com. Veteran writer Pete DeCoursey reported that State House Republican leaders were having trouble rounding up votes for the plan, because even though it should increase the GOP share of the state's Congressional delegation, it slices some communities into so many Congressional districts that local Republican politicians object.
So, DeCoursey reports that Republicans are calling on Democratic leaders, including Philadelphia city chairman U.S. Rep. Bob Brady to try and get some Democratic votes for it. And they're helping.
"So just to get this right, two of the four most liberal urban members of the U.S. House are lobbying their fellow urban Democrats to pass a congressional redistricting that masses the largest number of urban Democratic voters into the smallest number of districts.
Yup. And why are they doing it? Because that map was shaped in ways they liked personally, even as it made their party's return to the majority anytime soon less likely."
This is particularly weird, since the within an hour of the publication of the proposed redistricting plan, it was denounced by the Democratic State Committee as "maps (that) contain districts that snake halfway across the state, split up communities, and place two Democratic incumbent congressmen together in a district - all for the sake of helping Republicans win elections."
This should make for an interesting holiday session.
God bless us, everyone.