The Financial Times has more on the Democrats decision to not try "off-cycle" redistricting in Illinois, even though the Republicans did it in Texas -- it resulted in four incumbent Democrats losing their seats -- and are considering doing it again in Georgia and California.
"This is a bad precedent that doesn't seem to be stopping," Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said yesterday.Sometimes the best way to stop a fight is to start hitting the other guy.
Mr Emanuel said he did not like the idea of changing the rules "in the middle of the game". But he had been pushing for Democrats in his home state of Illinois to consider the move, to retaliate against Republicans.The Christian Science Monitor profile of Emanuel sure makes it seem that it wasn't his choice to back down from this "off-cycle" redistricting challenge:
Illinois Democrats met this week to discuss the matter and "there wasn't really a consensus for going forward", he said, adding that they wanted to put the institution of Congress ahead of party politics. Concern about such a frontal assault on Dennis Hastert the Illinois Republican who is speaker of the House and a chief architect of the state's current map was also a factor.
"I don't think anyone can tell you, 18 to 19 months out, what is going to happen," says Emanuel. But, he continues, "I am telling you what I told the caucus the day that they asked me to do this: 'Minimize our defensive posture, maximize our offensive posture.'"Amy Walter, House-watcher for the Cook Political Report, said of Emanuel:
"He does come from a background of being a real political animal. There's a segment of the party that feels [the Democrats] need to start punching back. The party has been taking it on the chin since 2000. And then Tom DeLay beats them on redistricting and the Democrats lose seats in the last two elections."Illinois Democrats: It looks like we have ourselves a fighter -- now lets let him fight.
Now, with Emanuel in place, she concludes, the message is "no more Mr. Nice Guy."