I Love My Voters … Pull!

George Skelton and Mickey Kaus note that the Democratic legislature in California lied to us once again – and the Governator let them get away with it.

Let’s back up and recall the precise promise.

In 2005, Schwarzenegger was backing a goofy redistricting proposal on his special election ballot. It would have forced a mid-decade redistricting, rather than waiting for the customary next census. Worse, it would have required any redistricting to be approved by a statewide vote, a political consultants’ bonanza.

If voters would reject the governor’s ballot proposition, Perata told me, “Our commitment. . . is to fashion a bipartisan solution in a thoughtful way and put it on the ballot next year.” Ditto, said Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles).

The Schwarzenegger measure was soundly rejected by nearly 60% of voters.

Then the Democratic leaders didn’t deliver.

I know we should know by now that when legislators promise to stop drinking and hitting the kids, and this time, we mean it, we really mean it they are lying. Maybe they mean well, and they are lying to themselves as well, or maybe they are lying consciously to us.It doesn’t matter.

For me, I’d gladly sign on to the flawed referendum that was slammed in 2005. Anyone going to propose it?

And can someone deal with the Democratic staffers who are breathing hyperbolically about the electoral “reform” bill proposed by the Republicans, and get them to lower the level of fire-and-brimstone faux moralizing?

On Thursday, California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres announced the launch of an exciting program called Fraud Busters to combat misinformation being spread by proponents of a misleading initiative effort (“The Presidential Election Reform Act”) which would make California the only large state in the union to award its electoral votes by Congressional District, instead of by statewide popular vote.

“We want activists around the state to help us stop the Republicans from stealing the White House and stealing California’s electoral votes,” said Torres. “We are asking our activists to be the California Democratic Party’s frontline team and help us stop the Republicans from spreading their lies around the state.”

In order to ensure that Republicans hold the White House next year, well-connected GOP operatives are attempting to put an initiative on California’s June 2008 ballot that, if passed, would all but guarantee the Republican nominee could steal 22 electoral votes from California in the November 2008 presidential election.

I’d feel soooo much better if a) the Democrats hadn’t talked about doing exactly the same thing in North Carolina (with approving noises from the MyDD folks) until pulling it at the direction of the national party, who apparently realized that the few electoral votes they’d gain in NC wouldn’t offset the ones they’d lose in California. And if one of the main reasons the democrats scuttled districting reform here wasn’t because they want to protect the gerrymandered Congressional seats that they have managed to engineer for themselves. Per Kaus:

The big hang-up was fear that Nancy Pelosi would oppose any measure that ended gerrymandering of Congressional districts as well as state legislative districts.

Like the European autocrats in the post below, our political class seems to be uncomfortable talking to us as adults.

And for me, I can’t help but wonder how a party that showed some respect for voters and their intelligence would fare.

6 thoughts on “I Love My Voters … Pull!”

  1. Nice final thought, but I’m not holding my breath.

    I have heard that something like 38 states have passed a law saying that they will switch to district-by-district voting simulatneously if all 50 states pass an identical proposal. I also agree that breaking up a california or North Carolina by itself would give an unfair edge to either party.

  2. _And for me, I can’t help but wonder how a party that showed some respect for voters and their intelligence would fare_.

    Not terribly well I would imagine. To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

  3. On Thursday, California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres announced the launch of an exciting program called Fraud Busters to combat misinformation being spread by proponents of a misleading initiative effort (“The Presidential Election Reform Act“)

    How do you fight a misleadingly-named organization?

    With an even more misleadingly-named organization, of course!

    This is why I am founding The Committee to Slam Sean Penn’s Head in a Car Door until his Skull is Shaped like a Pie Plate (CSSPHCDSSPP) which is all about raising public awareness of voter’s rights issues.

  4. Without getting involved in the fatwa here to murder Sean Penn, it should be pointed out that the rich irony here is that the Democrats didn’t gerrymander themselves into the current margin they have in legislative seats in California back in 2002; they inherited it, from the previous redrawing. The last redistricting, in the fall of 2001, was performed to protect incumbents, which seemed to make sense for Democrats at the time when the lines were being redrawn, just after 9/11 and at a time when Gary Condit’s career was nosediving. As it turned out, the Democratic Party’s dominance in California was just beginning, and the redistricting ended up being a partisan hindrance to Democrats.

    The deal the parties agreed to was to protect incumbents of both parties, which is why the partisan make-up of both the Congressional delegation and the state legislature has barely moved since 2000. In all likelihood, a fair and impartial redistricting would have increased the California Democratic contingent in Congress in 2006, even if it made incumbents more edgy on election night. And with more politicians having to fight for office, you wouldn’t have rump minorities holding up the budget.

    In any event, there’s no hurry on this issue. The next lines aren’t to be redrawn until 2011, so there’s plenty of time to get a reform before the voters. Hopefully, it will loosen term limits and making budgets passable by a clean majority, and everyone will be happy.

  5. What leads you to think that loosening term limits, still a very popular measure with the public, could leave everyone happy? I’m sure it would leave everyone in office happy, though…

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