Insert the Opposite
Sunday, March 19, 2006 :::
The newest meta-narrative in this year's budget tussle (started, I believe, by Bob Gibson), is that GOP House members are hanging together out of self-preservation -- or to paraphrase Bob, a blood oath.
Jeff Schapiro, never one to let a good meme pass him by, latches onto the concept in his Sunday sermon. He adds a twist, though: the House's positioning is all about re-election...and it fortified through redistricting. In describing those who wait in the wings should Bill Howell stumble and fall, namely Morgan Griffith and Kirk Cox, Schapiro says:
They embody the unrepentant, populist conservatism institutionalized in the House through artful, computer-driven redistricting by the newly installed Republican majority in 2001.
House Republicans drew districts that maximized the influence of their core constituents: tax hawks, abortion foes, Second Amendment advocates, and opponents of gay rights. This has stranded many Republican Delegates on their base, forcing them to fret not about challenges from the middle but from the right. Republicans, in effect, are afraid of themselves.
That may be true in a certain sense. But let's insert a few opposites into Jeff's narrative and see how it reads:
House Republicans drew districts that maximized the influence of [Democrats'] core constituents: [tax hike supporters, abortion proponents, gun control advocates, and supporters of gay rights.] This has stranded many [Democrats] on their base, forcing them to fret not about challenges from the [left] but the [middle]. [Democrats], in effect, are afraid of themselves.
Kind of puts things in perspective. Of course, it's unlikely that Democrats would challenge one another except in open seat races. Minority status generally breeds solidarity, and a desire to ignore differences in pursuit of a majority. Conversely, some on the GOP side view challenges as a form of heresy...exhibiting an idolization of personalities and an admiration for power that borders on the psychophantic. If the GOP is indeed, as Jeff states, afraid of itself, the reasons are real and palpable. It has little to do with redistricting. It has everything to do with conflicting visions.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 3/19/2006