- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2009

CENSUS SURPRISE

“Next year’s census will determine the apportionment of House members and Electoral College votes for each state. To accomplish these vital constitutional purposes, the enumeration should count only citizens and persons who are legal, permanent residents. But it won’t,” John S. Baker and Elliott Stonecipher write in the Wall Street Journal.

“Instead, the U.S. Census Bureau is set to count all persons physically present in the country - including large numbers who are here illegally. The result will unconstitutionally increase the number of representatives in some states and deprive some other states of their rightful political representation. Citizens of ‘loser’ states should be outraged. Yet few are even aware of what’s going on,” said Mr. Baker, who teaches constitutional law at Louisiana State University, and Mr. Stonecipher, who is a Louisiana pollster and demographic analyst.

The reason: “Since 1980 there were two census forms. The shorter form went to every person physically present in the country and was used to establish congressional apportionment. It had no question pertaining to an individual’s citizenship or legal status as a resident. The longer form gathered various kinds of socioeconomic information including citizenship status, but it went only to a sample of U.S. households. That pattern was repeated for the 1990 and 2000 censuses.

“The 2010 census will use only the short form. The long form has been replaced by the Census Bureau’s ongoing American Community Survey. Dr.Elizabeth Grieco, chief of the Census Bureau’s Immigration Statistics Staff, told us in a recent interview that the 2010 census short form does not ask about citizenship because ‘Congress has not asked us to do that.’

“Because the census (since at least 1980) has not distinguished citizens and permanent, legal residents from individuals here illegally, the basis for apportionment of House seats has been skewed.”

SHOCKED LIBERALS

Even some liberal bloggers are shocked by the way Democratic politicians describe opponents of ObamaCare, most notably in an op-ed piece in Monday’s USA Today by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland.

“I don’t get it. Why do Democratic leaders need to use the term ‘un-American’ to characterize their political opponents in an op-ed about health care?” Peter Daou writes at www.huffingtonpost.com.

“Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades,” said Mr. Daou, a political columnist and former adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Un-American”?

“Yes, insurance companies and well-funded conservative groups are bankrolling protests at town halls. Yes, these town hall disrupters are intentionally hindering reasoned debate. And yes, some of the anti-Obama rhetoric has a race-based component that is beyond despicable.

“But throwing around the term ‘un-American’ in the pages of a major paper? Do we really need to use the kind of language that Bush’s supporters hurled at Iraq war protesters?

“Of course we don’t. It’s wrong.”

ANGRY LIBERALS

The Obama administration is beginning to get some arrows in the back from fellow liberals.

“I’m a strong supporter of universal health insurance, and a fan of the Obama administration. But I’m appalled by the deal the White House has made with the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying arm to buy their support,” Robert Reich writes at www.robertreich.blogspot.com.

“Last week, after being reported in the Los Angeles Times, the White House confirmed it has promised Big Pharma that any health care legislation will bar the government from using its huge purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices. That’s basically the same deal George W. Bush struck in getting the Medicare drug benefit, and it’s proven a bonanza for the drug industry,” said Mr. Reich, who served as labor secretary in the Clinton administration.

“A continuation will be an even larger bonanza, given all the Boomers who will be enrolling in Medicare over the next decade. …

“Let me remind you: Any bonanza for the drug industry means higher health care costs for the rest of us, which is one reason why critics of the emerging health care plans, including the Congressional Budget Office, are so worried about their failure to adequately stem future health care costs.

“To be sure, as part of its deal with the White House, Big Pharma apparently has promised to cut future drug costs by $80 billion. But neither the industry nor the White House nor any congressional committee has announced exactly where the $80 billion in savings will show up nor how this portion of the deal will be enforced. …

“In return, Big Pharma isn’t just supporting universal health care. It’s also spending a lots of money on TV and radio advertising in support. Sunday’s New York Times reports that Big Pharma has budgeted $150 million for TV ads promoting universal health insurance, starting this August (that’s more money than John McCain spent on TV advertising in last year’s presidential campaign), after having already spent a bundle through advocacy groups like Healthy Economies Now and Families USA.”

NO MIDDLE

“Spontaneous or contrived, the shouting, shoving and other shenanigans at lawmakers’ town-hall-style meetings point to one probable outcome: the demise of bipartisan health care negotiations,” John Harwood writes at www.nytimes.com.

“Those negotiations have proceeded tortuously all summer, with centrists on the Senate Finance Committee maneuvering around obstacles erected by the Democratic left, the Republican right and the White House. President Obama last week urged the committee members to keep going,” Mr. Harwood noted.

“Yet the rowdy start of the August Congressional recess has galvanized activists on both ends of the ideological spectrum. That makes it tougher for negotiators to stake out a middle ground - especially in conservative locales that Democratic centrists call home. …

“That in turn makes it easier for liberal Democrats to turn away from conversations with Republicans and press ahead on their own.

” ‘If they can’t do it by Sept. 15th, I think the overwhelming view on the Democratic side is going to be, then, they’re never going to get it done,’ Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, observed in a separate interview. ‘And there’s always a worry that, you know, delay, delay, delay, you lose any momentum whatsoever.’ ”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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