February 12, 2009

Censusation: a Democratic Sampler

Hatched by Dafydd

We have delved the eldrich horror of the Democratic culture of corruption and discovered the deep and dark secret behind the attempted emasculation of Sen. Judd Gregg (RINO-NH, 72%), once incoming, now outgoing Secretary-designate of Commerce. Sen. Gregg has finally seen the light, realized what's coming down the tunnel, and has withdrawn his nomination; read on to find out why!

The most startling element of this ill-fated nomination happened just a few days ago. After naming Gregg as his pick for Commerce, President Barack H. Obama almost immediately capitulated to the infantile yowlings of the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEAO); he announced that he was removing from the Commerce Department one of their major responsibilities: conducting the decennial census.

Was this mere cravenness? No, it was worse, much worse. Gregg was to have been stripped of his responsibility for the census because of what liberals considered high crimes and misdemeanors against the Vision. To understand what's really going on sub-rosa, we must take a quick trip in Mr. Peabody's Wayback machine.

Back in 1998, President Clinton tried again and again to force the census takers to "correct" their population count by using polling or "sampling" to estimate the number of (primarily black, Hispanic, immigrant, and homeless) people who had been missed in the count (that is, a bunch of Democrats). The Clinton administration and congressional Dems argued that this would make the count "more accurate" by including historically undercounted groups.

The reality, of course, is that an actual count is always more accurate than a poll-driven estimate; you judge the validity of the poll by comparing it to the count, not the other way 'round. But it's far easier to manipulate a poll, as we see every even-numbered year, than to manipulate a nosecount. The census is used to determine the number of representatives each state gets, to draw congressional districts, and to allocate appropriations; so the temptation for corrupt-by-nature Democrats to abuse such "sampling" to rig the census in their favor is almost irresistable.

In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled (Department of Commerce v. U.S. House of Representatives, 525 U.S. 316, 1999) that sampling could not be used to reapportion the total number of representatives for each state, but the justices left the door open for its use in other functions of the census. Thus Democrats might be allowed to use sampling (polling) to fabricate population for use in gerrymandering congressional districts, thus corruptly locking themselves in power for a generation or more, and for determining how to allocate funds from congressional appropriations.

Responding to this threat to honest democracy, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY, 92% in 1998), the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary -- which funds the census -- attached a proviso that none of the money could be used to fund poll-sampling techniques.

He also added an extra $27 million over and above the department's request; liberals loved that part, but they hated the restriction against using sampling. In particular, the Congressional Black Caucus and several Hispanic pressure groups went postal; they demanded that the Senate strip this proviso out of the final bill (but keep the extra funding)... and the first person in their crosshairs was then-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, Sen. Judd Gregg.

Gregg disappointed them, and they have never forgiven him. What was Gregg's great crime, for which the CBC and NALEAO continue the hatefest even today? It wasn't that he joined his more conservative counterpart across the rotunda, for he did not. Gregg's crime was that he refused to kill the House proviso; he simply ignored the issue entirely, focusing on budget-control instead. From the piece by CivilRights.org, which of course strongly supports sampling:

The Senate appropriations subcommittee, chaired by Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), allocated $354.8 million, the precise amount requested by the Bureau. The Senate subcommittee included no funding restrictions comparable to those of the House bill choosing instead to include a prohibition against making "irreversible" plans for sampling.

Gregg made it plain that he would not go to the mat to fight against the Rogers provision; but he did signal he would fight vigorously against the extra money that Rogers added.

What do liberals say today about why they so despise Gregg? Let's -- may I use the word? -- sample a few opinions. From the Los Angeles Times piece charmingly subtltled "Latinos versus Republicans":

For the last few cycles, Latinos, blacks and other minorities have protested that language barriers and fear of government officials have resulted in an under-counting of their numbers. Since Latino voters voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama in November, Latino groups expressed delight when President Obama selected New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Hispanic American, as secretary of the Commerce Department, which handles the Census.

Not so fast.

After Richardson withdrew his name over a pay-for-play scandal investigation, Obama selected New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg, a fiscal conservative, to lead the department. Latino groups protested, noting Gregg battled efforts to increase the Census budget the last time a Democrat lived in the White House.

California Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, said Gregg's record of voting to abolish the Commerce Department and to block President Clinton's campaign for Census funding in 2000 "raise troubling concerns regarding his commitment to the department’s core missions."

Notice the word that was not used: Sampling. In fact, the word does not appear anywhere in the piece; the closest they come is "politicize" and "manipulate" -- both directly quoting Republicans. Instead, Barbara Lee talks only about funding.

From the Associated Press:

The Congressional Black Caucus and a group representing Latino elected officials have raised questions about Gregg, noting that as chairman of the Senate panel overseeing the Census Bureau budget he frequently sought to cut funding that they believe led to an undercount of minorities.

To allay concerns over Gregg, the White House initially indicated that it might take greater control over the Census Bureau. But amid GOP criticism it has since clarified that the White House will "work closely with the census director," and that the Census Bureau would not be removed from the Commerce Department....

"Achieving a census that counts all Americans will not be possible without the necessary funding, the right personnel and a secretary of commerce who shares that vision," [NALEAO] said.

In this case, "that vision" almost certainly includes sampling; but once again, the word itself never sullies the page. It's all about the funding, you see.

But funding for what? Had Gregg assumed the position of Commerce Secretary, I doubt he would have submitted a zeroed-out budget to try to eliminate his own job. Nor would he be likely to lowball the census; and even if he did, the same Congress that is set to enact a trillion-dollar deficit (or perhaps more) wouldn't balk at adding some money over and above Gregg's request.

The only explanation that makes sense to me is that these liberal Democrats are speaking in code... and "necessary funding" is actually a nod-and-wink cipher for "funding sampling techniques to jimmy the 2010 census in our favor." Per the Supreme Court, they can't add seats to blue states; but they can push red states purple and purple states blue by clever gerrymandering.

I believe it inevitable that the Democrats will revive the sampling controversy in order to "correct" (dramatically increase) the count of blacks, Hispanics, resident aliens, and homeless guys across the nation for determining congressional and legislative districts and siphoning more money into Democrat areas than GOP areas. John Fund agrees:

Mr. Chapman worries about a revival of the effort led by minority groups after the 2000 Census to adjust the totals for states and cities using statistical sampling and computer models. In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Department of Commerce v. U.S. House that sampling could not be used to reapportion congressional seats. But it left open the possibility that sampling could be used to redraw political boundaries within the states.

Such a move would prove controversial. "Sampling potentially has the kind of margin of error an opinion poll has and the same subjectivity a voter-intent standard in a recount has," says Mr. Chapman. [Bruce Chapman, census director in the 1980s]

Judd Gregg was useful to Obama's pretense that he was the first "post-partisan" president; but he was a threat to the Democrats' plan to slip sampling into the census. Therefore, Obama announced that he was stripping the census from Commerce.

That provoked such a firestorm that Obama lurched backwards, claiming he never said any such thing. But now Gregg is departing; I wonder whether the administration told him he would have to play ball with hyperpartisan Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel anyway, even if they left the census where it was? I suspect the next nominee for the post will be a reliable, partisan, Democratic yes-man or yes-woman who won't cavil over any order Chief Emanuel gives him anent the census and sampling.

Brace yourselves; sampling manipulation is coming soon to a census near you.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 12, 2009, at the time of 5:19 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Geoman

At what point do we start making it an individuals responsibility to participate in society? This started with some laudable goals, the GOTV efforts. These would help people who wanted to vote, but for some reason had a hard time making it to the polls. These have morphed into insane efforts to get every one to the polls, even those who don't want to vote,aren't eligible to vote, or don't acre who wins. The it became count every vote - even votes where the person was too stupid to follow basic directions. Now we are into counting the electorate, even those who don't wish to be counted!

I have a novel idea. You are responsible for voting. You are responsible for marking your ballot correctly. You are responsible for getting counted in the census.

Sorry, but the senile, the drunk, the terminally stupid, the criminals, the illegal aliens shouldn't have a say in how our country is going to be run, since they are contributing little to it anyway.

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2009 9:59 AM

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