- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 8, 2010

NO CENSUS CONSENSUS

For a supposedly simple little form, the 2010 census generates polarized reactions among those who are either vexed by its audacity or enamored by the draw of old-fashioned civic duty.

The U.S. Census Bureau released six videos Monday encouraging gay couples who consider themselves “married” to go ahead and list themselves as such. The videos also urge transgender people to identify themselves with the sex of their choice, and include a guest appearance by “Star Trek” actor George Takei, who married his companion, Brad Altman, two years ago. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, meanwhile, has launched a “Queer the Census” campaign, while other activists plan to lobby Congress to include sexual orientation on the 2020 census.

“The law should count for something when the Census Bureau counts America’s population, but apparently it doesn’t on President Obama’s watch. The president’s Commerce Department is actively encouraging people to ignore U.S. marriage law and invent new definitions for their relationships. What kind of government actively lobbies citizens to lie on their forms?” asks Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

“The Defense of Marriage Act forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex relationships as ‘marriages,’ ” he continues. “Homosexuals should fill out the census form and be counted, the same as any other Americans. But only Congress - not homosexual activists, not the Census Bureau, and not President Obama and his appointees acting unilaterally - can change federal law.”

Meanwhile, wee Cabin John, Md. - population 1,734 - aspires to be the nation’s first community to achieve “100 percent participation” in the count.

“The census is all about personal, local involvement for an important national purpose,” says Eric Federing, a board member of the congressionally chartered National Conference on Citizenship who contends that a little competition could “inspire some added civic pride along the way.”

TODAY’S PILE-ON

The Republican Party made a bunch of money in the first quarter of the year. The Democrats made even more. Republicans were the bigger target however, beat up by a gleeful press still enamored by titillating tales of Grand Old Party go-go girls and the travails of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele. A selection of assorted headlines:

“The GOP’s void.” (MSNBC)

“Vultures circle RNC.” (Politico)

“The incredible shrinking Michael Steele.” (Washington Post)

“DNC winning the money war.” (New York Daily News)

“New RNC scandal, old GOP arrogance” (CNN)

DOLLARS FOR LOLLAR

It has been a good year, a telling year for conservative Republican Charles Lollar, a retired Marine who is running against House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer in Maryland’s 5th Congressional District this fall.

“We’ve raised over $100,000 in the first quarter, which means there will be much more to come. This is the first time in 25 years for a Hoyer opponent to reach this fundraising goal. The most anyone accomplished was $100,000 total for the whole year,” Mr. Lollar tells Inside the Beltway. “This is exciting for us. But it tells me something about the direction of public sentiment as well.”

JUST SO YOU KNOW

“Voters agree that big money talks in politics, but apparently not as loudly as big media. Fifty-five percent of U.S. voters continue to think that media bias is a bigger problem in politics today than big campaign contributions. Thirty-two percent say big contributions are the bigger problem. Thirteen percent more are not sure.”

“Sixty-eight percent of Republicans and 62 percent of unaffiliated voters say media bias is the bigger problem in politics, a view shared by just 37 percent of Democrats. The plurality (46 percent) of Democrats says campaign contributions are a bigger problem.”

(From a Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted April 4 and 5.)

BEACH READING

The Sentinel/Penguin Group is very protective of “Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One,” a biography by Zev Chafets, the deft scribe who managed to get close to the nation’s leading talk-radio host for an afternoon and publish his observations in a New York Times Magazine cover story two years ago.

Mr. Chafets must have done good. Mr. Limbaugh invited him back for a visit to his Florida home and ultimately sent along a hundred e-mails, and voila - a book was born, to be published May 25. There are no advance copies or printed galleys, though the leaks should start appearing, oh, around May 20.

But here is just a little something from the 240-page volume:

“People who dismiss Rush Limbaugh as an entertainer, a pitchman or a hot-air balloon are very wrong. He is a brilliant and tenacious advocate, a major political and cultural force who can’t be wished away or shouted down or sniffed into irrelevance. Smart liberals will listen to his show, even if they hate what he has to say. Those with a sense of humor will find themselves laughing despite themselves. But nobody will fully understand American politics and media culture until they get who Rush Limbaugh really is, what he does, and how he does it.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 65 percent of U.S. voters say “most members of Congress” do not deserve re-election.

• 83 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 41 percent of Democrats agree.

• 49 percent say of voters overall say lawmakers from their own congressional district deserve to be re-elected.

• 48 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 968 registered voters conducted March 26 to 28 and released Wednesday.

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