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Archive for Friday, May 17, 2002

Political spoils

May 17, 2002

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There's nothing new about using political victories to gain political advantage.

Various individuals, officeholders, editorial writers, chamber of commerce officials and others have been weighing in on the redistricting challenge facing Kansas. Much has been said about what to do with Douglas County and whether it should be included in the 3rd Congressional District, the 2nd District or split between the two.

Some of the concern generated by the redistricting question has been focused on whether it is good or proper to split the city of Lawrence to come up with a proper population balance for the 2nd and 3rd districts. Others have concentrated their attacks on any plan to put all of Douglas County in the 2nd District, saying such a move is nothing more than a raw political tactic by Republicans to try to make it more difficult for Rep. Dennis Moore, a Democrat from Johnson County, to win a third term in office.

Many of those questioning the change in district boundaries try to pose as good, non-partisan, interested citizens concerned only with what is best for Lawrence.

The fact is, the old saying "to the victor go the spoils" is right on target. This is true in war or politics; no matter how some may try to sell the idea that it is wrong or unfair for the winning side in any contest to enjoy some kind of advantage.

It isn't just Kansas Republicans who may be taking advantage of the majorities they enjoy in the statehouse.

In Indiana, for example, five-term Republican Rep. Steve Buyer recently defeated freshman Republican Brian Kerns for the nomination after the two GOP lawmakers were pitted against each other by a Democratic-led redistricting plan. This was the Democrats' maneuver to eliminate a Republican congressman.

In Ohio, the same thing happened with two Democrats being forced to run against each other by a Republican-controlled state legislature.

The point is, some may complain and say the system needs to be changed. Others ask why. If the name of the game is to win, why shouldn't winners enjoy some benefits?

Maybe more citizens would make the effort to become informed, interested voters and participate at all levels if they realized the reality of the situation and that "to the victor go the spoils" is indeed the case  at all levels of elective politics.

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