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Virginia Senate Republicans Can’t Even Stage a Coup Right

8:17 pm in Elections, Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Dear Virginia Republicans: When you shoot at a king, you must kill him. And when you opt to attempt a colossally arrogant and slimy stunt, you’d better make sure in advance that it will work.

Yesterday, on a public holiday, while a member of the Democratic caucus of the Virginia Senate (currently split 20-20) was attending the inauguration in DC, the Republican caucus decided to launch a dirty trick (h/t to Lowkell at Blue Virginia):

You don’t get more slimy, sneaky, underhanded, etc. than this (great work by Ben Tribbett alerting us to what was going on in the following series of Facebook updates):

“Wow- Republicans in the Virginia Senate are now trying to redraw the maps and draw at least one Democratic Senator out of the Senate. Happening right now on the floor.”

“COUP GOING ON IN VIRGINIA SENATE: Republicans have just brought all new Senate districts to the floor with Henry Marsh gone in DC, now 30 minutes of debate before they send them to the House of Delegates.”

“COUP SUCCESSFUL- NEW DISTRICTS HEADED TO VIRGINIA HOUSE. AT LEAST ONE DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TO BE OUSTED.”
“The Republican redistricting bill creates a 6th majority-minority seat.”

After Ben’s first Facebook notice, I went to the live feed of the Virginia State Senate and watched as Sen. Saslaw, Sen. McEachin (“This is sneaky, this is underhanded, and it’s beneath the dignity of the Senate“), Sen. Marsden and Sen. Barker went ape**** on the Republicans for what they said was a totally underhanded, unconstitutional move that will utterly poison relations in the Virginia State Senate. The fact that Republicans pulled this underhanded maneuver while most people were focused on the inauguration and Democratic State Senator Marsh was out of town (for the inauguration) really says it all. Wow.

Once it passes the GOP-controlled House of Delegates, and assuming it gets signed by the Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, the Republicans’ attempt at gerrymandering would give them a potential 27-13 supermajority in the Senate — that’s how extreme it is. And normally, you’d expect somebody as partisan in his Republicanness as Virginia’s governor to welcome the bill with open arms. But so far, that’s not been happening — in fact, the governor and his staff seem to have been caught off-guard by this:

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Poor Mitch Berg: Still Clueless on Redistricting

12:19 pm in Politics by Phoenix Woman

(Mitch-as-parrot courtesy of Ken Avidor; leather paddle image courtesy of me.)

As Sally Jo Sorensen notes, Mitch Berg really is the best the local Minnesota conservative Republican blogging brigade has to offer. Honestly, he is.

Which is why it’s telling that Sorensen, without even breathing hard, can find that which is invisible to Berg — the presence of Republicans on the Citizens’ Commission on Redistricting:

Having failed to find more than one  Republican on the Commission, Berg quite logically concludes that Draw the Line Minnesota has constructed nothing but a progressive Potemkin Village in Citizens’ Commission. Fair enough based on the research he presents.

But given Berg’s completely solid credentials as a blogger and researcher, it’s a bit puzzling that he missed spotting Kent Kaiser.  Having enlisted our Pretend Internet Boyfriend Mr. Google as unpaid intern on the prairie, we found a lot of connections between Professor Kaiser and Minnesota’s conservative Republicans.

Berg writes:

Kent Kaiser of St. Paul is a professor of communication at Northwestern College. Previously, he served as the communications and voter outreach director in the office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. While with the Secretary of State’s office, he serviced as liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau and on the boards of Kids Voting Minnesota and Kids Voting St. Paul.

Yet again – not a single political contribution found.

Since Berg uses criteria in addition to political contributions to assess other members of the commission, it’s fair to look beyond  contributions for evidence of Mr. Kaiser’s political leanings.

Mr. Google reports that Kaiser is a senior fellow at the Center of the American Experiment, where he’s been posting articles since 2009 or so. The bio on the latest article:

Kent Kaiser is an assistant professor of communication at Northwestern College in St. Paul, a Center of the American Experiment senior fellow, and a native of Silver Bay who formerly served as communications and voter outreach director for Minnesota Secretaries of State Mary Kiffmeyer, a Republican, and Mark Ritchie, a DFLer.

Kaiser was brought into the SOS office by Kiffmeyer and stayed trough the beginning of Ritchie’s first term. His much publicized report, No Longer A National Model: Fifteen Recommendations for Fixing Minnesota Election Law and Practice, was published by the CAE in 2009.

Go read the whole thing. Sorensen doesn’t merely take down Berg; she smacks his bottom with the “OUCH” paddle.