McDonnell changes position on redistricting

Creigh Deeds is crying foul. The Democratic Party of Virginia is howling.

For that alone, I commend Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell, yesterday, released his new position on redistricting:

Bipartisan Redistricting – Whether through legislation or a Blue Ribbon Governor’s panel, Bob McDonnell will ensure bipartisan citizen involvement in the state legislative and Congressional district redistricting process in 2010-2011. Legislative districts must be drawn in a way that maximizes voter participation and awareness and lines should reflect commonsense geographic boundaries and a strong community of interests. This bipartisan commission, comprised of Virginia citizens who have not held any elected office for at least 10 years, will select its own non-partisan chair and will provide the citizens with access to the process through public meetings, proposed maps online, and a website that will allow public comment and interaction in this important process.

This position is not the same position McDonnell has taken for years as a legislator and as recently as this February.

As a legislator, he moved to table these sorts of bills and this past February claimed that bipartisan redistricting isn’t going to take the partisanship out of the equation.

“I don’t think it’s worked all that well in other states and I’m not sure that the proposal (inaudible) takes the partisanship out of it. All you’re doing is delegating it to a group of retired judges and other citizens who aren’t necessarily going to be non-partisan. I think right now you can hold the general assembly accountable if you don’t like the way they draw the lines, you vote them out, this gets them off the hook.”

This has prompted the Creigh Deeds campaign and the DPVA to crawl out of the woodwork and be openly hostile to McDonnell:

“Virginians aren’t buying Bob McDonnell’s latest election-year pander,” said Brooke Borkenhagen, Communications Director for the Deeds for Virginia campaign. “Taking Creigh Deeds’ proposal for bipartisan redistricting reform and repackaging it is a new low for Bob McDonnell. And it’s clear that Bob is simply trying to position himself for a head-to-head match up with Creigh in November.”

Well, we know how that match-up worked out last time for Creigh, Brooke. While it was close, Creigh still lost.

“Bob McDonnell doesn’t need a primary opponent when he has his own record to run against,” said Jared Leopold, Communications Director for the Democratic Party of Virginia. “Just months ago, Bob McDonnell stood silently while the Republicans in the House killed bipartisan redistricting. Now, he has suddenly changed his mind. Over and over again, McDonnell failed to act when it counted. Today’s cynical flip-flop raises serious questions about who the real Bob McDonnell is.”

Actually, you should probably ask the House Democratic Black Caucus about their position on redistricting, too, Jared. Funny how you leave that out of your quote.

So, Democrats, as they typically do, make it a personal attack as opposed to looking at the nature of the proposal.

Quite frankly, I don’t agree with McDonnell on this one. I agree with the former McDonnell positions.

But, while I may not agree with McDonnell’s evolution on redistricting entirely, I completely recognize that he knows he’s is on record as not openly supporting this sort of thing in the past and he knows that he is going to take heat from both Democrats crying foul and Republicans who feel his position doesn’t align with their conservatism; it takes courage to change one’s tack.

Democrats are constantly critical of Republicans for inflexibility, but now they want to be critical of a Republican who has been thoughtful about an issue and takes a position closer to theirs?

Seems that they want to oppose just for opposition’s sake, where McDonnell is taking the approach to lead.