Two redistricting things we’d like to draw your attention to today. First off, Jmac has two pieces up at his blog. (“Is this the End” and “Roundup of the Absurd”) We’re not so sure that the Chamber is making itself totally irrelevant, but we’re open-minded on the issue. JMac makes good points.
In our continuing coverage of redistricting, we submit to you today’s opinion piece by John Jeffreys, chairman of the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Party. (ABH: “Democrats offer views on redistricting bill”)
Jeffreys makes a good point, and one that most of the opponents to the redistricting have missed. Ralph Hudgens and his gang did pretty much slip this one in under the radar, and decided to forego the common courtesy of letting the local government know, to say nothing of notifying the other members (who happen to be Democrats) of the Athens legislative delegation. Why all the secrecy?
However, we have to take issue with Jeffreys on another point. Sez Jeffreys:
“…it would weaken, not strengthen, the voices of the majority of citizens of Athens-Clarke County, if the most Democratic-leaning county in this area is ‘represented’ by two Republican state senators.”
Hold on. Last we checked, the bill was going to carve ACC in half, which is bad enough, but apparently the bill mandates that, regardless of how the actual vote turns out, the winner will always be a Republican? Hooboy, that’s some mighty fine bill-writing there.
Or maybe not. Obviously, the voters still get to decide, and clearly, Jeffreys is stating the obvious – the districts are drawn in such a way that a Democrat being elected in either is somewhat less than probable. So why are we making a big deal about this?
Well, Jeffreys’ comment kind of sums up a major problem we have with our local Democrats around Athens. They just give up too easily. If the ACC Dems owned a peach orchard, we would hope that none of their trees grew more that four feet high, because all they want to do is pick the low-hanging fruit.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and the ACC Democrats default back to the races that they were already going to win. That’s the kind of behavior that helped Brian Kemp beat Doug Haines by a handful of votes in 2002, and it’s the kind of behavior that helped Kemp beat Becky Vaughn by more than a handful in 2004, while the local Democrats ignored non-partisan elections and concentrated on “helping” Jane Kidd, who already had her House district sewn up anyway.
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and you miss almost 100% of the shots you half-ass. Speaking as a local Democrat who has no connection to the local party (Those guys can’t stand me. Wonder why?), I would love to see them getting in Bill Cowsert’s face, and especially in Ralph Hudgens’ face. Look at the numbers in ACC. In 2004, we went 58% for John Kerry. The Democrats in ACC are the big dogs in the kennel, but instead, they’ve spent the last few years acting like a puppy who just got nipped on the rump. As John Jeffreys himself says today, we are, “the most Democratic-leaning county in this area.”
We think it’s high time our local party started acting like it. Just win, baby!
However, as annoyed as we are at the local Democrats, we’re equally annoyed at the Democratic Party of Georgia. Where’s Bobby Kahn on this one, and why doesn’t he have the local party’s back? The state party needs to come out and take a few swings at this one too. Unfortunately, they haven’t made it to the dugout yet. If this were a solid red county, we would understand the DPG’s diffidence, but then again, if this were a solid red county, Ralph Hudgens wouldn’t be trying to carve his own personal road to glory outside the Loop.