The recent disclosures by ProPublica about how the Democrats manipulated the redistricting process is not news. Anyone with half a brain could have predicted it the day the Redistricting Commission was approved by the voters (proof of the truth of this statement is that I did predict it, and I know a lot of my Democrat friends think I only have half a brain). John Burton’s response that the report was bulls**t was also predictable. What do you think John would have said? “After serious reflection, and deep soul searching, I have come to the conclusion that this report was seriously flawed” Yeah, right.
What was also predictable was that the media would become the Democrats’ toadies by criticizing the report. The easiest way to describe that response can be summarized with the media saying “Yeah, so, the surprise is what?” Basically, they are saying that if the Republicans got bamboozled in the process, it was Republcans’ own fault. One commentator called it “political malpractice” for the Republicans not to organize the way the Democrats did.
In some ways, I agree with the press. That the Democrats would manipulate the process is no big surprise. But, do you think that the press would have allowed the Republicans to organize to influence the Commission? The moment the Republicans started to organize any community input into the process, the press would have made that front page news, and complained about how the Republicans were trying to manipulate the process. When the Democrats do it, according to the press, it’s brilliant strategy. When the Republicans do it, it is underhanded subterfuge. But, once again, that is predictable as well. That is the way it is in politics (particularly in California). The press is always going to blame and attack Republicans.
The real malpractice here is that the Redistricting Commission was a Republican idea, financed by Republicans (who had less than half a brain when it comes to politics), to make the system “balanced.” Trust me, the system will never be balanced. Either Democrats will win, or Republicans will. Republicans will either fight to win, despite the inevitable criticism that they will face for fighting to win, or they will lose. Any Republican who thinks the system can be “balanced” so that the political process is a fair fight between the Parties is either ignorant or a fool, and I don’t use those words lightly. That is the way it is. If Republicans are going to be intimidated by press criticism into “working for a balanced system,” instead of fighting to win power by having better ideas for governance, then working harder than the Democrats to win elections to implement those ideas, then Republicans will lose. And they will deserve to lose.
The press is correct. Politics is a contact sport. We, as Republicans, will either treat it that way, or we will lose. We may get a bloody nose, we may offend some people. Heck, we might even offend a reporter, or a commentator, or two along the way. But we should fight anyway. We can actually win elections on our ideas, but we have to fight to win. We won’t outsmart the Democrats, we won’t be more sneaky than them. We won’t be able to outdo them when it comes to technology. We have to have better ideas, and we have to work harder.
And guess what? The press won’t like it when we win. While we are fighting to win, they will criticize us. When we do win, they will suddenly become the best investigative reporters on earth, uncovering everything we do wrong. The press will never like Republicans until those Republicans roll over on their backs like a beaten dog, and show the Democrats their belly. Even then the press will laugh at us. And so what? Why should Republicans care about what a bunch of reporters think of them?
In my early years in politics, one Republican press guy told me I should never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. That is bad advice (to those who are in the political arena). Fight. Don’t fight to make the system fair. Fight to defeat the Democrats, and don’t worry about their toadies in the press. Republicans can win IF they have the right ideas for governing, and they work to disseminate those ideas to voters. That is all it takes. Enjoying good press is not a luxury we can afford. We really have to annoy them.
Republicans have always been cursed with weak-kneed consultants and advisers who counsel caution. The torpedoes of criticism will always be there. So, what is the surprise about that? My advice? Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.