Senator Berger's Cynical Flip-Flop
The editor of the Charlotte Observer editorial page is out with a scathing column lambasting Senator Berger and others who, after years of supporting redistricting reform, are now declaring any efforts "dead on arrival" in the Senate. A bi-partisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill in the NC House that was identical in places to what Senator Berger had sponsored before his party took power. Now that Senator Berger has the power to draw the lines, he doesn't want to give it up. From the column,
N.C. Sen. Phil Berger sure was persistent. Consider these bills he co-sponsored over eight years:
• Senate Bill 283, a bill to establish an independent redistricting commission. (Feb. 2001)
• Senate Bill 430, another proposal to establish an independent redistricting commission. (March 2005)
• Senate Bill 1122, to establish the Hamilton C. Horton independent redistricting commission. (March 2007)
• Senate Bill 1093, a different approach to reforming redistricting. (March 2007)
• Senate Bill 25, another stab at creating the Horton independent redistricting commission. (February 2009)
Last month, the Associated Press asked Berger if he supports an independent redistricting commission. Of course he does, right?
“I have yet to see a so-called independent redistricting commission that is truly independent,” he answered. “I’m still out there looking for that nonpartisan soul that really has no opinion about politics one way or the other that has an informational background in politics. … I don’t see an independent redistricting commission or any of the proposals that have been floated as improving on the system that we have now.”
Has there ever been a more glaring example of how where you stand depends on where you sit?
Berger, R-Rockingham, sat toward the back when he was in the minority throughout the last decade. Today he sits up front as the Senate President Pro Tem. Surrounded by fellow Republicans everywhere he looks, he has a grip on power like Vladimir Putin – and a similar fondness for true democracy.
Maybe that’s not fair. Maybe the proposals announced last week to take much of the politics out of drawing congressional and legislative districts differ dramatically from the ones Berger co-sponsored. Let’s check.
Oh, no, actually they are nearly identical. In fact, entire passages from the bill filed last week are taken verbatim from bills Berger co-sponsored.