Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner is getting attacked by the former finance chairman of the New York State Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, Bill Samuels, who has taken up the cause of non-partisan redistricting, which, the congressman opposes.
Samuels, in a public statement, described Weiner’s opposition to non-partisan redistricting as “disappointing” and “self-serving.” To be fair, other lawmakers, like Chuck Schumer, oppose it too.
After watching Congressman Weiner’s recent disappointing comments on Capitol Tonight about opposing Independent Redistricting, I am reminded of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s old adage about “Defining Deviancy Down.” However, in this case Congressman Weiner is Defining Dysfunction Down, basically arguing that corrupt redistricting and dysfunction in other legislatures is justification for embracing corruption and dysfunction here in New York. This is hardly the principled leadership we should expect or accept from our elected officials.
New Yorkers deserve the best legislature in the country and one of the only ways to get on that path is to have non-partisan approach to redistricting. Governor Cuomo’s Independent Redistricting bill, which is being held up by Republicans in Albany is a way forward on this issue.
Congressman Weiner’s comments show a tremendous lack of creativity and self-interest on the issue, where we need real leadership, if we are to restore voters trust in our elected officials. In that interview Weiner said, “I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with saying: let politics have its way. Especially since you have a Republican Senate and a Democratic Assembly, I’m not sure nonpartisan redistricting is necessarily going to get us any better outcome.”
Does Congressman Weiner truly believe that a split legislature with a GOP-controlled State Senate is the best outcome Democrats could or should hope for? Following his logic, does he also think we need to maintain a Democratic US Senate and a GOP House?
New York’s Congressional delegation should support Independent Redistricting Reform and put aside personal ambitions or self-preservation to help bring greater pressure to bear on this issue. If Congressman Weiner wants to be respected as a Congressman, he needs to act on principle, not political expediency.
Weiner’s comments are disappointing at best, self-serving at worst and not in the tradition of this state’s most respected political leaders.