I continue to be shocked and dismayed how far too many people seem willing to latch on to conspiracy theories and make meritless accusations against fellow Republicans. Worse, these accusations continue even when clear evidence to the contrary is presented.
Such is the case with the furor over Florida's redistricting. Let me say this for the millionth time: There is no conspiracy in the Florida Legislature to hurt Allen West, and Mitt Romney doesn't have a darn thing to do with our redistricting process.
I wrote two posts earlier this week, the first explaining why rumors of a Romney-based conspiracy against Allen West were utter nonsense, and the second detailing a very elegant deal between Republican candidates to leapfrog districts in a way that gives more conservatives a strong chance at election.
It's appropriate that today is Groundhog Day, because this silly rumor keeps crawling out of its lair to pop up its tin-foil-hat-covered head. Hopefully we can regain our senses and not be doomed to another six weeks of stupidity.
Like some zombie creature in a B-movie horror flick, this rumor refuses to die. Bloggers who I highly respect continue to repost this story, and even Rush Limbaugh drank the Kool-aid this week.
Florida State Representative Scott Plakon issued the following statement today regarding the controversy:
- The legislature did not target members of Congress, the House, or Senate that support the principles of the Tea Party movement. As a member of the Congressional Redistricting Subcommittee where the maps were first approved, I have firsthand knowledge of the process and can state this fact unequivocally.
- Under the standards approved by a super majority of Florida voters, it is literally unconstitutional for the legislature to favor or disfavor Congressman West or any other incumbent when drawing new districts. It has been reported that 38 members of the Florida House are either drawn out of their district or are living in the same district as another incumbent. If we were “rigging” the results, we are certainly not very good at it. In fact, the House district that I currently hold has been eliminated. If this stands, I will likely have to run against another incumbent, move or leave the legislature…all rather unpleasant choices.
- The proposed map which changes Congressman West's district is the direct result of a constitutional amendment that I, and many other members, opposed and campaigned against. However, 63% of Florida voters spoke loudly and clearly last November when they voted “yes” to what was called the “Fair District” Amendments…Amendments 5 and 6. Representative Weatherford took an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida”. He is now duty-bound to uphold these amendments. Our maps clearly reflect this.
- We conducted 26 meetings across the state where thousands of citizens had the opportunity to attend and testify. It is obvious that we have put forth the most open and transparent redistricting process in the history of our state. In one of our committee meetings, I asserted that it is likely the most open and transparent process of any state in the history of the United States. No one disagreed.
- By drawing districts that comply with the Florida Constitution as we clearly have, we ensure that the unelected members of the State Supreme Court will not be able to take over the process and draw their own maps behind closed doors and out of the sight of the public.
I was the only Florida legislator to endorse Herman Cain (when he was at 5% in the polls) before September 24th, the day he won Presidency 5 and started his climb in the polls. Last week I endorsed Rick Santorum. I’ve filed and/or passed the Health Care Freedom Amendment, the red-light camera repeal, the cap and trade repeal, etc., etc. I don’t think that I’ve ever been accused of being an “establishment Republican”!
But when someone of the character, integrity, impeccable reputation and conservative values of Representative Weatherford is accused like this based on unproven speculation and conspiracy theories, I felt that I needed to say something…even if it is Rush Limbaugh making those accusations.
I’ve read that Congressman West will still run for Congress, and I firmly hope and believe that he will be elected by Florida voters. He is a hero to our country and our cause.
It goes to show you that even America’s Anchorman, Truth Detector and Doctor of Democracy who is at the cutting edge of societal evolution that can beat the liberals with half his brain tied behind his back can actually get one wrong.
I guess there is a first time for everything.
Florida State Representative Scott Plakon represents Florida's 37th district, encompassing parts of Orange and Seminole Counties.
[Cross-posted at Sunshine State Sarah]