Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gerrymandering - the root cause?

The moderates of both parties seem to be captive of the extremists of both parties in the budget impasse.  The Tea Party right wing refuses to raise the debt limit if there are any revenue increases, and the Pelosi left wing refuses to allow any of the real spending problems to be cut - entitlements.  

One of the biggest problems facing the country today is gerrymandering of congressional districts.  It is no surprise that the Senate is more moderate than the House of Representatives in Washington.  You can't gerrymander a state.  The political boundaries are already drawn and can't be redrawn.  But within each state the political parties draw the districts to assure safe seats for both Republicans and Democrats.  As a result, the safer the seat, the more radical those who are elected.  You can't have a safer liberal seat than San Francisco, and you are hard pressed to find a more left wing ideologue than Nancy Pelosi.  The same on the right wing, for example Darryl Issa of Riverside County.

As a result, members of the House of Representatives are in safe districts, so the automatic tendency is for candidates to be more ideologically pure than their same party challengers.  If candidates had to run in districts that were politically moderate, the more centrist candidates would win and the extremists would not be able to attract the center, which would decide the victors in more balanced districts, similar to how the presidency is usually decided by the political center rather than the extremist true believers of either party.

The House of Representatives, these days, is always extreme.  It operated far left of center after the Obama victory of 2008, passed health care and gave massive giveaways to pet liberal projects under the guise of Stimulus spending.  And now the House is operating far right of center as it is being held hostage by the Tea Party tax cutting extremes threatening to cause the government to default rather than allow increased revenues to help reduce our enormous deficit.

As a side note, this is why I am totally opposed to the idea of trying to change the relative powers in the Senate.  Ideologues are upset that Wyoming has the same number of Senators as California, even though each state has vastly different populations.  But, their attempts to change this is just another way to try to gerrymander the states in the Senate the same as they have gerrymandered the states in the House of Representatives.  What a terrible, extremist producing idea that is.

Ideology makes smart people stupid.  Everything ideologues see proves to them the rightness of their black and white ideological view of the world.  Pelosi Democrats against Tea Party Republicans - and no chance that either side will ever drop their hatred of the other.

It is up to Obama and Boehner to lead the center to just say no to the drug of ideological extremist absolutism.  

I send my hopes and prayers.