When politicians talk about redistricting, disingenuous things come out of their mouths

Disingenuous (Adj.)—Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.

There's been a whole lot of disingenuousness flying around since the initial Arizona state-redistricting maps were released. Some of it is mildly amusing, but other examples remind us that "disingenuous" is occasionally just a nice, political way of saying that somebody is a lying sack o' crap.

Any discussion on what is to come must begin with a statement of what is now, and the Republican Party now has a stranglehold on the state of Arizona. ("Strangle" being the important part of that word, as in education, environmental protection, progressive thought, and so on.) Republicans hold the office of governor, secretary of state and attorney general. In the Arizona Legislature, 21 of the 30 state senators (70 percent) are Republicans, as are 40 of the 60 representatives (67 percent). Both United States senators are Republicans, as are five of the eight members of the United States House of Representatives.

Nevertheless, despite holding all of the state's top offices and more than two-thirds of the seats in the State Legislature, the Republicans want more.

The Republicans were attacking the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission before it even went to work. Republican State Sen. Frank Antenori (R-30) sicced his personal attack poodle, State Rep. Terri Proud, on the commission. She summed up their objections best when she said, "Socialism ... Democrats ... socialist ... Obama ... socialism ... unfair."

As it turns out, Proud and her fellow Southern Arizona Republicans do have something to complain about, but it damn sure isn't the commission. In fact, Republicans from all over the state (some more than others) should be just about giddy about the maps—and yet still they whine and get all disingenuous (some more than others). Among the more noted complainers (and their attendant disingenuousness factor):

Gabby Mercer started running against Raúl Grijalva about a half-hour after Grijalva survived the Tea Party orgy of 2010. Newcomer Ruth McClung had given Grijalva a real run for it (and Grijalva had shot himself in the foot with his dumb-ass "Boycott Arizona" campaign after the passage of SB 1070). If a Republican woman came close to knocking off Grijalva, just think what a Hispanic Republican woman might do. That's why we're supposed to refer to her as Gabby (or Gabriela) Saucedo Mercer, so everybody will know that she represents! Recently, she claimed that the members of the Redistricting Commission deliberately put her residence in another congressional district just to mess with her.

The likelihood of that is just about zero, since the law specifically bars the commission from considering the residences of incumbents or potential challengers. She's not guaranteed to get the GOP nomination, and according to the U.S. Constitution, she's not required to live in the district in which she is running, anyway.

Disingenuousness factor: 9.8 (out of 10)

Rep. Richard Miranda, a Phoenix Democrat, decried the fact that his proposed new district will only be about 50 percent Hispanic. He threw his constituents (and an entire ethnic group) under the bus by claiming that since Hispanics don't vote at the same percentage as other ethnic groups, his district should be at least two-thirds Hispanic, just to be fair (which he defines as allowing for his comfortable re-election). Gee, how about going out and getting people to vote?

Disingenuousness factor: I don't know if he's a lying sack o' crap, but he's definitely a sack o' crap.

Gov. Jan Brewer, who reportedly was recently in Arizona, complained about the proposed congressional districts. No. 1 on the Republicans' wish list all along was that there be three districts along the Mexican border (instead of the current two). They got that, but now she's complaining that one district stretches from Douglas all the way to the Utah state line. Well, if five of the nine districts are going to be in the Phoenix metropolitan area, and two others will include parts of Tucson, then at least one of the remaining two rural districts is going to be anywhere from amorphous to hideous.

She also whines that only four of the nine proposed districts are solidly Republican (while two are solidly Democratic). The other three are leaning Republican, but can be considered competitive. Even if those final three were 50-50 (which they are not), there would still only be a slight chance that Arizona's congressional delegation would have a Democratic majority.

Disingenuousness factor: 9.0. (With Brewer, there's always at least a 10 percent chance that she's simply clueless.)

• Finally, the aforementioned Southern Arizona Republicans are facing diluted power in the coming years. Deep down, they know that they got dicked not by the commission, but also by their Maricopa County brethren, many of whom are still upset that both Raúl Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords were both able to retain their seats in the 2010 election. The Phoenix cabal consolidated their power and cut Southern Arizona adrift. And anybody who says differently has a disingenuousness factor of 10.

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