President Obama's politicized, profligate U.S. census drive is so desperate for positive press that it has now recruited former Bush senior adviser Karl Rove to do public service announcements. Rove pleads on video: "Please answer the 10 easy questions. They're almost the same ones Madison helped write for the first census back in 1790." Message: If you don't join the census bandwagon, James Madison will have lost!
Sorry, Mr. Rove. Playing the Founding Fathers card isn't going to quell conservative criticism of how the Obama administration has exploited the census boondoggle for both economic and ideological gain.
For the record, I have no beef with the constitutional mandate. I complied by filling out my census form and sending it back -- with "American" in the blank for race/ethnicity to register my opposition to government racial classifications. Despite apocalyptic suggestions by census officials and some Republican politicians that conservatives are recklessly boycotting the decennial head count, analysis by both the right-leaning Daily Caller and left-leaning Plum Line websites shows that return rates from conservative counties are in line with national averages.
So, what makes the Obama census campaign different from other census programs? First, its naked, left-wing special interest pandering. The White House is championing a "Queer the Census" movement by pro-gay marriage groups, for example, and the Commerce Department is working with open-borders leaders who want to use the census as leverage to stop all immigration raids.
The electoral stakes are high. Some $400 billion in federal funding and, most importantly, the apportionment of congressional seats are up for grabs. Instead of straightforward enumeration of the American population, Obama and the left's identity politics-mongers are turning the $1 billion, taxpayer-subsidized census public relations drive into a government preferences lobbying bonanza.
More galling: the White House manipulation of census worker employment to goose the jobless rate. Last week, the government touted employment figures bolstered by the hiring of temporary workers for Census 2010. The Census Bureau anticipates it may add nearly 750,000 workers to its payroll by May. Liberal economist Heidi Shierholz exulted in The Hill: "This is the best-timed census you could ever dream of." And Team Obama plans to milk it for all it's worth.