Thursday, March 03, 2005

Tom DeLay - The Ugly Truth

The Washington Post reports that Tom DeLay faces an eroding base of support at home, in Texas Congressional District 22. The Post highlights the irony of the situation considering that it partially is a result of 2003's ramrod revamp of Texas' district map, along with bad mojo from The Hammer's legal/ethical issues.

However, as delicious as the irony is, even more striking is the shameless way that DeLay acknowledges he was the one managing the entire redistricting process in the first place.

"When you're drawing the lines, you have to set the example," DeLay explained late last week as he traveled his district during the Presidents' Day recess. "If you're going to maximize the number of Republicans that are elected, everybody can't have an 80 percent district. If you're the guy that's sort of leading the effort, you can't tell your members, 'Well, I'm going to dilute yours, but I'm going to pack mine.' "

"In doing all that, we tried to be as fair to everybody as possible," he added. "And I had to take my hit, too."
Now, everyone knows, or at least takes for granted, that DeLay was the one generating the political momentum of the 2003 redistricting effort. But here, the congressman admits unabashedly that he was actually controlling the technical process of drawing his and every other Texas congressman's district lines. Again, most people take this for granted. But, the admission is significant when you consider that formulating congressional districts is a function of state legislatures, not of the United States Congress.

State lawmakers generally are more accountable to voters than are congressmen who spend most of the year in D.C. Allowing state lawmakers to drive the redistricting process theoretically leaves more control in the hands of the voters. Here, Tom DeLay acknowledges for the record that Republican Texas lawmakers surrendered their control over the redistricting process to the very people who had the most to gain or lose politically: the congressmen themselves.

One wonders how Texas voters feel about the effective suspension of representative democracy in the Lone Star State.