A short note reflecting the Democratic Decampment in 2003, with longer followup Discussion. (Ed. 10/1/2023)
Just when you thought you’d seen it all I’ve never heard of arrest warrants being issued ‘en masse for almost the majority of a single political party in a state legislature but in this case I think it’s deserved. Hopefully, when they get it all wrangled out they adjust the quorum rules in some fashion to prevent manipulation like this. This ain’t democracy, it’s grandstanding. Is it too late to trade Texas back to Spain for a couple of Plan B Free Agency colonial holdings to be named later?
DeLay’s office released a statement saying, “Texans deserve representation that reflects their values and beliefs. “Fifty-six percent of Texas voters cast their vote for a Republican congressional candidate last fall, yet Texas sends more Democrats than Republicans to Congress. We’re trying to change that,” he said. And the percentage of voters who voted for W was what? Riiiight. Reapportion it all or leave it be. Props to those using the system to beat it–or if no props, arrest W for system abuse.
We have three branches of government to resolve disputes: the legislature, the executive, and the courts…last I checked Holiday Inn wasn’t on that list. It’s not that I’m for or against either party in this matter, I hate redistricting and think it’s poisoning the system across the board. However, the precedent is a bad one, for either party, to blackmail the outcome of a debate by forcing them not to be one. (It’s why I dislike filibustering which both parties use as well far too often). Tom Delay was a better whip than he is a political leader.
Personally, I’m rather glad republican conservatives have so much control right now….we can stop hearing about how x,y, or z group is ruining the country and lay the blame pretty squarely with one political party.
“However the precedent is a bad one” And a filibuster is what? The precedent for using procedure over the outcome is far more entrenched than your comment supposes. Dude, you’re a gamer–you know what the rules are for!
Those who focus on rules for the sake of the manipulation of rules to their benefit (rather than the pursuit of the objective itself in a regulated state be it game or politics) can easily forget that the comfort which the rules provide them is easily lost and if their actions are taken to logical conclusions unforeseen consequences may result.
Legislators under warrant of arrest based on political affiliations? Does this not concern you? What happens should one of the Democrats be arrested crossing the state border…will they be sent to court? Will the court then be placed in a superior position to the legislature to compel their attendance? Where is the check on the courts then? What if next year the issue is not redistricting, but pork barrel…is legislature by the true representation of constituents or blackmailing via the necessity of a quorum? These practices play to the power of the minority, the exact swing groups Tocqueville explicitly stated would be the downfall of a democracy because they can tip the moderate middle-of-the-road majority. Though I do not think because of the Texas Democrats’ abrogation of duty that we are in a crisis, but the concept of precedent and crossing new lines is not something that is making me comfortable lately.
It’s the same theory with Bush. Not only is he grabbing every imagined power the rules, or his interpretation, may allow him, but he is setting a precedent for every President who follows in his footsteps. The House and Senate have already willed themselves into political impotence by rubberstamping his Patriot Act. We have an American citizen in jail, incommunicado for over a year, prohibited from his fundamental constitutional rights and the government is arguing he should not have access to a lawyer as it will interfere with the government’s ability to coerce a confession.
The point of a deliberative body is not to see what they can get away with, nor hand over the ability to decide to small minorities, but rather consider the consequences and step back from the lines that should not be crossed. Republicans began the latest filibustering trend in the 90s…now Democrats have taken it up as the minority party. For partisan considerations are appellate courts, a critical check on the legislative and executive branches, is woefully understaffed. Washington was correct in warning of the dangers of political parties seeing to their own needs and victories more so than the individuals they represent.
Rules lawyers (those in my mind who do not seek holes in the rules to better the system but instead use the rules to better only themselves by manipulating them to their best result) are some of the lowest forms of gamers in my view. Indeed I would question that they are even gamers because it is not the game they pursue, but a game of their own creation outside of the game itself.
And in the final statement what should be done is the passage of a law making the districting process non-partisan, it was this way for a long while and it worked fine. The re-districting trends of the 80’s and 90’s (swinging back and forth depending on which party was in control) have reduced actual political competitiveness to only a handful of races nationwide, the rest are so packed the outcome is almost a foregone conclusion.