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Rove appeals to traditionalists fearful of census

By Ron Brynaert
Tuesday, April 6, 2010 10:04 EDT
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For many conservative Americans, it is more soothing to rely on the past to help get through the present.

“Author and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove will appear in a new public service announcement from the U.S. Census Bureau designed to convince people to mail back their 2010 census forms by the end of the month,” Ed O’Keefe reported Sunday at his Washington Post blog, Federal Eye.

O’Keefe adds, “In an e-mail, Rove said he agreed to participate, ‘Because the Census settles apportionment of Congress and the current distrust of Washington should not discourage people from being counted.’”

The Rove message “focuses on the early beginnings of the census,” O’Keefe notes.

One of my favorite founders is James Madison, principal author of the Constitution. He created an instrument of democracy by writing into the Constitution a requirement for a census every 10 years to ensure fair representation in Congress.

If you’ve not yet mailed back your 2010 Census form, it’s not too late. Please answer the 10 easy questions. They’re almost the same ones that Madison helped write for the first census back in 1790.

But what exactly was different in that 1790 census from the 2010 version?

The 2010 version doesn’t ask how many slaves you own.

A Fox News blogger notes, “The ad comes days after Census Bureau Director Robert Groves cited lagging census participation in Rove’s home state.”

“We’re concerned about the relatively low response from parts of Texas,” Groves said in a March 30th written statement. Some Republicans worry that disillusionment with government expansion will cause a dip in census participation by conservatives. Rove says that’s exactly why he participated in the ad campaign, “The census is used to reapportion the US Congress and I didn’t want people, particularly conservatives, to not be counted. They need to know that this determines what states get.”

“Conservative activists this year have argued it is unconstitutional for the census to ask anything beyond the number of people in a household,” the Wall Street Journal’s Naftali Bendavid reported Monday. This year’s census form also seeks information on race, gender and age, among other things, and filling it out is required by law. The census has asked similar questions for decades.”

Angst at the government in power may fuel some conservatives to boycott the US census, costing their party coveted seats in Congress for years to come. Republicans could also lose seats in state legislatures if districts are redrawn.

 
 
 
 
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