We’ve been talking for quite a while now about the activities of “Draw The Line Minnesota“, part of a chain of astroturf pressure groups being established across the Midwest to put pressure on the redistricting process.
My prediction a few months back, when “Draw The Line” started pitching its game to the usual fawning suspects in the media: there would be an elaborate show of “multipartisanship” for the media to show to the world – sort of like the Congress of Soviets in the old USSR. Then, “Draw The Line” would release the maps – elaborately gerrymandered maps, which would favor the DFL to an absurd degree – that they were going to release all along.
So far, I’m batting about 1000.
Well, OK – about .800. I didn’t bank on “Draw The Line” getting a squeaky wheel like Kent Kaiser into the mix. A few weeks ago, he wrote a letter to the Judicial Redistricting Board pointing out that the bipartisan “Citizens’ Commission” was a sham – a group of well-meaning, earnest people who were being used as window-dressing for a conclusion, and a redistricting solution, that’d been decided in a locked back room well out of public view, and which was a gerrymandered DFL-centric abomination.
But the wheel has indeed squeaked. Last night on “The Late Debate” (as reported by Gary Gross at LFR), Kaiser took on “Draw The Line” again:
Prof. Kaiser made news by telling the listeners that Common Cause MN were distancing themselves from the Citizen Commission because 2 of the members, Prof. Kaiser and Anne Mason, were Republicans.
That clearly violates one of the top two priorities listed on DTL-Minnesota’s website:
“The campaign seeks to create a better redistricting process in Minnesota that uses the following principles:
1. The redistricting process should be independent and nonpartisan, to minimize the influence of elected officials and political parties in creating districts to their own political advantage.
2. The redistricting process should be transparent to the public”
As Gross pointed out, the commissioners did try to do the job as advertised – something for which I didn’t credit them in advance:
Actually, the Citizens Commission tried living up to both principles. DTL-Minnesota’s powers-that-be corrupted the process, first by making the Commission a partisan effort, then by having Linden Wieswerda draw the redistricting maps, then embargoing the maps until they were filed with the Special Panel on Redistricting.
So if you take Kaiser at his word – and I do – even Common Cause is giving up on the fiction so consistently aped by the media that the “Citizens’ Commission” is anything but window-dressing.
So let’s step through the chronology:
- The Minnesota Legislature passed a redistricting plan – drawn
largelyentirely by Republicans (which is one of the prerogatives of winning), but which met the letter and spirit of the body of redistricting law that has sprung up around this process over the past forty years or so.
- Governor Dayton – notwithstanding the fact that the DFL had no counterproposal – vetoed the Legislature’s map, sending it to the courts.
- A group of left-“leaning” groups – Common Cause, the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits, the League of Women Voters and Take Action Minnesota – propped up “Draw The Line Minnesota” (DTL).
- DTL formed the “Citizens’ Commission”, a 15 member panel with two identified Republicans, intended to take “public feedback”. This, they did.
- DTL also deployed some cool web toys, allowing pretty much anyone to try to draw their own redistricting map…
- …which, as we later found, was more or less the equivalent of giving noisy kids in the back of the car a coloring book so they’ll shut up on a long trip. DTL, notwithstanding all its talk of “transparency”, hired a longtime DFLer to draw its real maps, in secret, and embargoed until the deadline to hand them over to the judicial panel. The “Commission”‘s feedback was basically a sham.
I think it’s interesting; when I appeared with “Common Cause Minnesota’s” Mike Dean on “The Late Debate”, I invited him onto the NARN; he had been palavering for the previous two hours about the need for multipartisanship, after all. His response – I published “Fairy Tales” about “Common Cause”. (I admittedly erred in the actual source of some of the organization’s funding, and in the scope of one IRS 990 form I produced – which didn’t change the ideology behind their money one iota).
As we can see now, Dean was committing an instance of Berg’s Seventh Law of Liberal Projection: “When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character or respect for liberty or the truth, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds”
Who’s telling fairy tales, now?