The House Minority Leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, seems to have found a new protected class deserving of gerrymandered election maps: Liberal women. Pelosi is reportedly getting involved in New York’s redistricting to protect two liberal Democrats whose seats are caught up in the pencil war:
According to a high-level Democratic source with knowledge of Pelosi’s efforts, the minority leader has placed calls to both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, urging them not to let the proposal released by US Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann earlier this week become law.
Her argument is twofold, the source said. First, as the first woman to serve as speaker of the House, Pelosi is concerned that “the bulk of people who get hurt – the main Democratic casualties in the court map – are women, namely Reps. Kathy Hochul and Louise Slaughter.
Pelosi is even threatening Cuomo’s future presidential aspirations with woman problems if he allows this judge-drawn map. Pelosi may have a point here. After all, the new map was drawn up by a mann. But wait, that Mann is a woman:
A federal judge today proposed her own redrawn boundary lines for New York’s congressional districts, a nonpartisan proposal that’s dramatically different from those submitted last week by the state legislature’s majorities.
U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann proposes keeping intact most of Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle’s 25th Congressional District, a Syracuse-based district which currently covers all or part of four counties.
Hm. So Mann is a woman, and Mann’s map protects a woman’s district — that of Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle. Then what’s Nancy’s beef with Mann’s map? Well, Rep. Buerkle is a woman, true, but she’s not the right kind of woman. She’s a conservative Republican woman. So she doesn’t count as a woman to Nancy Pelosi.
In all this mannly map drawing, Pelosi seems to have an unlikely ally: The NY GOP seems as intent on drawing Buerkle’s district away as the very liberal Democratic former speaker of the House is:
The redistricting map submitted by the New York Republican state Senate would all but ensure that Buerkle doesn’t win reelection in New York’s 25th District, which she currently represents. The district drawn by the Democratic State Assembly would offer her no better chance. A third compromise map drawn by a judge suits Buerkle much better.
Sources near Buerkle’s campaign suggested that the arrangement of the map was political on the part of state Senate Republicans.
“It’s hardly surprising that Albany politicians and lobbyists have allowed cheap politics to dominate this process,” said a source close to her campaign who asked not to be named. “But the voters of New York have grown tired of shady backroom deals, and they will see right through this.”
Buerkle wrote an open letter to the judge in which she made clear just how displeased she was with the map put forward by her own party. She urged that both the Republican and Democratic maps be rejected.
It’s stories like this that would make a hardened cynic out of the most Pollyanna-ish voter. Nancy Pelosi, whose seat is not in New York but on the other side of the country, is meddling in another state’s affairs saying that a female judge may be anti-woman because her map, which neither party likes for political reasons, makes it harder for two liberal Democrat women to win, but keeps a district closer to fair for a Republican woman. New York lost seats thanks to the census; some Democrats have to lose, but Pelosi appears to be protecting these two seats, using disingenuous gender-based arguments, purely to keep her hold on the Democrats intact. Slaughter and Hochul are Pelosi loyalists. The NY GOP seems to be messing with a seat because they don’t consider its current occupant to be their kind of Republican. The party that brought us liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava looks set to map away the conservative and effective Ann Marie Buerkle.