The Huffingtonpost blog today carries a story headlined “GOP Looks to Redistrict Itself Back into Power.” The gist is that Republicans have “a sense of dread” over a “potentially massive” loss of seats in Congress this fall. The contingency plan: Win a majority of governorships (Democrats currently hold 28 of 50) and use the governors’ influence over redistricting to have state legislatures draw maps friendly to GOP candidates.
This might sound to Texas ears as the kind of story that is of inside-the-Beltway interest only, except for the first organization mentioned in the story:
“The 2010 elections are almost as important or equally important as the elections this year. After redistricting in 2011, the governors are going to have a huge influence in determining the political makeup of this country,” said Chris Schrimpf, a spokesman for the Republican Governors Association. “We could feasibly see 25 to 30 congressional seats swing as the result of redistricting. And the state legislatures and governor could determine that swing. Can the National Republican Congressional Committee make a statement like that with a straight face? It would be harder for them.”
Ah yes, the Republican Governors Association. Chris Schrimpf works for Rick Perry. The slap at the NRCC was vintage Perry. The message is that if Republicans want to swing 25 to 30 congressional seats to the GOP in 2010, they should put Perry and the RGA in charge–and contribute their money to the RGA–rather than the NRCC. Elect governors who are willing and eager to gerrymander in 2011. It worked in Texas, didn’t it?
Whatever you or I may think of Perry as a governor, it would be a mistake to think that he is anything less than a brilliant politician. He has a homing instinct for hidden sources of power, like the RGA. He understands money and he understands message, and he knows how to use both. If he is able to make himself into the chief fundraiser for Republican governors in 2010, he will establish himself as a major force in Republican circles, if he is not that already. I have believed for some time now that he is positioning himself to run for president in 2012. He could come out of the 2010 elections holding IOUs from a lot of governors he helped elect. That is a pretty good way to start a presidential campaign. Don’t laugh.