Democrats & Liberals Archives

No sense in avoiding the Census!

I’ve been seeing reports like this in the news as of late, and I just have to wonder what some people are thinking.

Folks, it’s pretty simple: the Census is constitutionally mandated. The number of Congressional districts your state gets, the shape of them, even, is dependent on the Census. If you fail to be counted, your vote counts for less.

To justify not being counted, you have to entertain the kind of theory that only schizophrenics have cause to believe is true: that their government is out to get them. Unless you are like Ted Kaczynski, and you live in a shack out in the middle of nowhere, unless you've just dropped utterly off the grid, failing to mail back the census form will do little to maintain your security, if that is the case. But since it's not true, since our government doesn't round people up and put them in internment camps, failing to get counted won't help you much in any real terms.

As this article demonstrates, the relative size of your state's congressional Delegation will depend on those results. In fact, its part of the whole point of the Census.

Given the potential gains, you might just be giving up seats if you go about things that way.

This is part of what alternative mystifies and amuses some of the Liberals on my side of the blogosphere. Blogger Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memoes reflected on an interesting bit of information here:

It's not enough that folks from the Birther & Death Panel set have convinced many good folks that the Census is a secret plot to steal their lawn furniture. There's another irony waiting. Historically, the real problem with underreporting has been in underprivileged communities -- particularly African-Americans and Latinos and especially in large urban areas. To that end, conservatives have worked for the better part of two decades to stop the Census from taking any steps to correct numbers in the face of widespread non-response: namely, statistical sampling. And in the face of that pressure, the current Census Director has ruled out using sampling in the 2010 Census.

Which means that if you succeed in not being counted, no guv'ment bureaucrat is going to look at the statistics and iron out your absence. If you're not counted, you're not counted.

Now, the more irresponsible end of the Republican Party, the Ron Pauls and the Michele Bachmann's are telling people that they ought not to be counted, or if they do return anything, they should just return enough to get away with it.

I can understand that some people don't like government intrusion, but here's a place where the law of the land, which most of these people claim to honor, mandates the count. It's part and parcel of how we keep the government representative. You can't represent the ghosts of those who bravely fled in the face of their census forms. You can only represent those who are counted.

If your faith in the government has faltered, that is your problem. If you don't like who's in charge, that is your problem. If you fail to stand up and be counted, that's worse that your problem, that's your other problems magnifed by your behavior.

Besides, it saves tax dollars. That's a good thing, right?

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at April 1, 2010 4:36 PM
Comments
Comment #298351

Stephen,

Since it is mostly those on the right who find the census appalling, maybe their holding out will balance out those who are too ignorant to fill out the form…er…are they one in the same?

Posted by: Marysdude at April 1, 2010 6:16 PM
Comment #298352

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “Which means that if you succeed in not being counted, no guv’ment bureaucrat is going to look at the statistics and iron out your absence. If you’re not counted, you’re not counted.”

Glad to hear than no guv’ment bureaucrat is going to be involved in the census to iron out someone’s absence. I don’t know how congress missed out on that opportunity to falsify numbers. Frankly, I don’t know why anyone would object to this simple form. It took me less than 2 minutes to complete, seal and send back and I didn’t consider any of the questions to be prying or intrusive.

Looks like Texas is set to pick up additinal reps.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 1, 2010 6:29 PM
Comment #298353

Dude is such a funny guy and seldom misses an opportunity to get down and dirty. I feel the luv…thanks.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 1, 2010 6:33 PM
Comment #298354

CORRECTION

Dude is such a funny guy. The left seldom misses an opportunity to get down and dirty. I feel the luv…thanks

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 1, 2010 6:38 PM
Comment #298357

Royal Flush, I see you feel it doubly:)

Stephen,

I understand the hesitancy of many to fill it out. It is intrusive. Daily, we are barraged with marketers looking for our email addresses and phone numbers, only to harass us further.

The last census asked us questions about income and other intrusive information that had little to do with congressional districting.

The census prior to WWII was used to locate and send Japanese Americans to internment camps.

Posted by: gergle at April 1, 2010 7:20 PM
Comment #298358

gergle,

The census has been misused, and may be misused again sometime in the future, but this one is about as basic as even those earliest ones, like 1780, etc. I work a little on my family tree, and use old census for a lot of research…to me the more information in them the better.

It may be good to question our government, and I imagine it was the questions that caused the census to back off from those of which you speak. It all balances out, and it is a mandate of the Constitution.

RF,

Thanks! Thanks again!

Posted by: Marysdude at April 1, 2010 7:33 PM
Comment #298360

Dude…you’re always welcome…have a nice day.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 1, 2010 7:42 PM
Comment #298362

The minimal (count only) 2010 census data is supplemented with annual detailed economic and social surveys conducted on a sample basis. Seems like a reasonable compromise. Extrapolating to the to population as a whole or a given geographic area may not be as accurate but it will provide a reasonable estimation for policy purposes.

Posted by: Rich at April 1, 2010 8:18 PM
Comment #298363


Several of my friends believed that the census was voluntary and that you don’t have to fill it out if you don’t want to. I don’t know wher they have gotten this idea and it takes some arguing to convince them that the census is mandatory.

RF, I agree that this is a simple census form. It is easier than the short form used in 2000 and you could have gotten a top secret security clearance with less information that was required on the 2000 long form.

Posted by: jlw at April 1, 2010 9:13 PM
Comment #298366

At heart, I believe that any gains I would make by having these people underreported would be balanced by the problems of having people underepresented.

My basic belief is that while I don’t always enjoy the results of Republicans having their say, that the social problems that come of having people frustrated at not being represented have a worse effect, and encourage more of dangerous attitude of disregard for the system.

What I really dislike about the direction the Republican Party has taken is to stir up contempt for Government as an institution. It’s not that I love government all that much, but a society needs some level of order, some level of executive function, even when we don’t always like it.

A government that goes out of its way to tick nobody off is not a real government because few people are truly happy to be put in check. Nobody likes to be sent to their room or get a traffic ticket. Prison is nobody’s idea of fun, at least nobody sane.

Fact of the matter is, we can’t expect much good out of a system where every rule is objectional, and subject to veto by individuals who think their impulses are supreme over everybody else’s concerns.

Of course, on the other end of the admitted abstract spectrum is the expectation that we can simply “organize freedom” Personally, I think there’s a limit to how much you can productively micromanage people before that, too drives them a little nuts.

I believe in a middle ground, which curbs the worst of both excesses, but which is capable of being hard when it needs to be, and soft when it should be. Rather than heedlessly push things in one direction or another, we need a government that maintains a healthy equilibrium.

And part of that is having people represented, and not having people being fed paranoid conspiracy theory that warps their political judgment with falsely founded fears. If anybody’s noticed, I’m as fierce an opponent to Truthers as I am to Birthers, because I believe that even if the Anger against George Bush was justified, even if I had a lot against him, that I wanted to found my objections on the reality of what he did, not chase suspicions into a land of schizophrenic delusion.

Royal Flush-
Although it might not be in the areas the Republicans want. ;-) Seriously, though, it’s already been illegal for the Census Bureau to guestimate for the purpose of the population count. Where it’s been advocated is in terms of apportionment and distribution of federal funds.

But the Obama nominee shut the door on that, didn’t he? The Democrats have no desire to be painted as liars and cheats. I think that’s part of the system, isn’t it? When nobody has power permanently, when mistakes and bad behavior turn people off, voters hold people accountable.

If I’ve had a beef with the Republican Party as of late, it’s been because of their attitude that the two straight elections did not represent a mandate for the Democrats. Frankly, I think it did. What surprises me is that the Republicans continue to try and push things.

I can understand the Republicans wish to do this. But if you look at the party, I hardly think its in the shape necessary to handle the stresses of the quest for power. It’s not resolved many of the internal matters that’s sabotaged the party’s chances these last two elections.

The Republicans need to figure out where they can agree with Democrats, and start doing that, start helping to govern. That is, essentialy, in my opinion, where the real governing goes on, in the compromises people make. When the games of opposition are the only game in town, people forget that they were meant to resolved differences in that chamber, not make them more angrily pronounced.

Our Framers were not simply Christians, or just Secularists and atheists. They were a diverse group. They were not merely planters and farmers, they were also capitalists and businessment of the cities. The constitution wasn’t written to make one sort of people happy, it was written to find the place where all the different groups could agree, or work towards agreement. Ultimately, I believe in Madison’s opposition of factions, the synthesis of action born of nobody ever getting everything they want completely for good.

I don’t necessarily need to see Republicans lose completely. But what I’d love to see is some peace and quiet in politics for a while, things at least dying down to a dull roar. I’m going to prefer a certain balance of course, but so are you, so we’re going to have to find out what we’re willing to agree on.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 1, 2010 11:16 PM
Comment #298377

SD
You are a lot more gracious than I,or more niave. The Rep leadership are not just mistaken good guys that have the best interest of their fellow Americans ar heart. They are bad guys. They are committed to dismembering what small social safety net we have. They are committed to shifting the wealth of the nation to the plutocrats, the robber barons. Because it would have been political suicide to directly assult populer programs like Medicare or SS they adopted a flanking strategy we have seen before, “Starve the Beast”.What other explanation can their be for the Bush deficits, the unfunded wars,the tax cuts for the wealthy, the unfunded drug benefit,the blowing open of federal vault after vault for cronies to loot. The intention was and is to spend the nation into such debt that we have no choice but to drasticly cut SS,maybe eliminate Medicare, stop unemployment benefits all together,screw public education , get rid of AFDC etc. out of some sick,self serving Maltusian,Ayn Rand vision of social Darwinism.They are indeed dangerious wackos.
OK,they did it. The deficit is huge.The economy is strugling to get off its knees. Instead of having the courage to go ahead and push their vile agenda they lack the backbone and instead are settling for just being the obstuctionist party. Seems they are more interested in power than pursueing their wicked ideaology.
There is a sensible wing to the Republican Party. Among its luminaries are David Frumm and Colin Powell. They are voices in the wilderness.

Posted by: bills at April 2, 2010 9:16 AM
Comment #298379

bills-
It’s not so simple as that, and it’s not always right to lump those people out there with the Republicans in Washington, or the Plutocrats they are beholden to.

Listen to the Rhetoric those Washington Republicans use. Only in the reddest of red places do they dare to phrase things in such stark terms. Most of the time they’re talking government interference in people’s lives, money taken out of their wallet, out of control spending, and all kinds of other things. Listen to what those politicians say about Medicare. One Second, Republican politicians are claiming to defend it, the next they’re pledging to essentially destroy it, and turn it into a subsidy for health insurance. Tea Partisans tell them to keep the government’s hands off of Medicare, and slag the government for the socialist framework that a number of them willingly depend upon.

The way I look at it, you have a party now whose main ideas are based on the emergent product of years of strong rhetoric, and like any situation where people are essentially counting on smooth talking to get them out of political trouble, they’ve been all over the place.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I don’t believe the Republicans to be very wrong, and don’t feel that opposing them strongly at this point is the best course for the nation. But I don’t need to dehumanize them in order to confront them. In fact, my strategies might work better if I take the potential for reason and reasonability into account.

One of my doctrines of rhetoric is that nobody ever gets very far with name calling. Your allies might get a charge from it, but the people you need to convince, both the independents and the convinceable Republicans will simply throw up defenses in the face of that, and not face facts.

I wrote my column the way I did yesterday because it occurred to me that I’ve been very angry of late, and while my anger is justified, I need people to feel as I do more than I need to vent my emotions. You can do all sorts of things to let out your emotions, but it’s far trickier to lead people to understand things your way.

If Republicans want to be undercounted, that’s their business, but I am not so concerned about the politics of the Right as the way the leadership is basically working to encourage alienation of their people from other Americans. It’s been tough this past year to see through the red to deal with that issue, and I think that being a little less angry at people won’t hurt me.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 2, 2010 10:32 AM
Comment #298382

I listened to an NPR report this morning re the census. IF you think of the places where responses are good and where they are not, I think you will find that places where you might guess Tea Party people come from are well represented.

The highest compliance was South Dakota. The lowest DC. So who do you think is not cooperating?

I bet if you drew a map with census compliance by county, it would look a lot like the blue and red election maps, with better compliance in the red places.

Isn’t the complaint that they always undercount the poor and the minority? If this is no longer a problem, we can save all that money we are spending on adds.

Posted by: C&J at April 2, 2010 12:36 PM
Comment #298383

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “If Republicans want to be undercounted, that’s their business…”

What an outrageous statement. From where does Mr. Daugherty draw this conclusion? I would be willing to wager a beer that there will be more visits (per capita) to democrat and liberal dwellings than those of republican and conservative dwellings. I admit that I have no way of proving my conjecture, but then, neither does Mr. Daugherty.

I find it interesting that liberals and dems keep talking about past election results to bolster their spirits rather than discussing their dropping numbers in the polls, the difficult time liberal media is having staying alive, and the increasing support of conservative values by independents.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 2, 2010 12:51 PM
Comment #298385

RF,

You might be right on this thing.

1. Republicans who toss the form, do it because they know better but just don’t care to cooperate with anything having to do with the government, even if it hurts them, and even if they know it’s Constitutional law.

2. Democrats who don’t participate tend to be the poor and/or ignorant ones, who perhaps don’t understand its importance.

It will likely balance out in the end, especially if more Tea Baggers, etal., throw it away than fill it out. I’m kinda counting on that…let’s see if the count on the right misses by the totals of KKK, Covenant Sword, John Birch, Posse C, Tea Bags, cults and kooks…hell Dems might even come out ahead for gerrymandering.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 2, 2010 1:30 PM
Comment #298392

Hey Dude, your comments are more appropriate for April 1st (fools day). Did you sleep right thru it?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 2, 2010 2:17 PM
Comment #298404

C+J-
I provided sources to document my claim. Would you do the same? I need to know what I am responding to. Yes, historically, undercounts have been a problem for poor blacks and hispanics. However, we’re seeing serious problems with the returning of census forms in a number of Republican areas, as I documented in my sources.

I am aware of what they said, and the issue they raised is among those they brought up.

You should understand that this is not the first time this has been brought to my attention.

When the main selling point of your political party is paranoia about the government, it’s folks like her who become a leading faces in your party. I can understand the impulse to limit government, to keep it in check to keep American’s lives from suffering too much interference. But this sort of thing seems like the behavior of adolescents who are bitter about being under somebody else’s authority.

A person like me, who lived in his country under a political party and a set of leaders that he didn’t like, the heightened emotion and over the top contempt seems to me to be excessive, especially since I didn’t feel it all that necessary to engage in it myself.

I know my party isn’t perfect. I know from what I’ve seen myself that folks can be more partisan than we’d like. But if I could cite a differences, it’s that most Democrats are invested in Government simply working.

With these folks, I feel anxious. As if they’d watch it all burn, even if it cost our country something. That’s what I feel, at least. I have never been comfortable with the degree of hostility and rejection I often get from Republicans, nor have I always been that fond of being informed in great detail of the attributes and opinions they think I have.

It is one thing to oppose a party, to oppose a leader, but it seems sometimes like some folks on the Right oppose allowing us to disagree with them, and it seems like that’s sometimes a privilege they would take from us at the end of a gun, with the rhetoric they sometimes use.

Royal Flush-

What an outrageous statement.

I cite evidence that says that lower rates of return are being seen in conservative counties. Whether that stays as it is, is a matter of debate. What isn’t up for debate is that the numbers have been interestingly low, and as I indicated above, there are some prominent Republican leaders telling people not to fill out their Census forms. Can you cite any prominent Democrats that would suggest the same to their constituents?

Besides, I don’t see what’s outrageous about what I’m suggesting. I’m not taking this absurd idea among some conservatives and telling them to run with it. I’m saying they should be counted. If they are counted in proper numbers, I’m implying, they will benefit.

I will not. We might indeed see more seats go to Republicans, thanks to that. What an outrage! I’m cheering your side on to take full advantage of its rights under the constitution!

As you were saying?

I find it interesting that liberals and dems keep talking about past election results to bolster their spirits…

I find it interesting that you find it interesting to repeat statements of opinion of yours as fact. ;-)

We just won the elections that we’re referring to, so there’s some validity to the appeal.

You say we’re on the way down. Yet in our decline, we have pulled off that historical vote on Healthcare Reform. All things being equal, Democrats before 1994 couldn’t even get a vote to the floor to vote on it. Just these past couple weeks, Democrats made it happen.

Now Republicans are forced to campaign on repeal, and even that is a touchy subject, as they balance between the energized but unforgiving Tea Partisans, and the pragmatic impulse not to be seen as the folks calling for a repeal of Tiny Tim’s protection from being denied insurance for his pre-exiting condition.

Your people have relied on appeals to fear, but the irony is, the bill’s roots are in your party’s counterproposal to Clinton’s healthcare reform package. What was once touted as an alternative to socialism is now tarred and feathered as the essence of socialism itself.

Is it the party moving the proposal that’s more important to the Republican’s logic, or the policy itself?

Isn’t it interesting that the Republicans are attacking their own proposals, encouraging defiance of a constitutional mandate that would actually help them if they encouraged people to participate in it, instead of fearmongering about it?

Seriously, though, what I’m typically interested in is finding angles on political matters where the facts give people a choice in how to respond to me:

1) Agree with the facts I present, or;

2) BS people, and try to talk their way out of things through questionable rhetoric and devices of debate.

Of course, somebody can defeat 1), if they actually know their stuff. Most of the time, people try 2) with me. It’s frustrating, to be sure, but I confess I enjoy pushing people on such responses, trapping folks in their arguments.

You’re trying to intimidate me with poll numbers, with questions about previous elections, and other implications of Republican re-ascension, but you’re mistaken if you think you’re getting the results you’re looking for that way. I’ve seen the polls. The Republicans have not truly gained from anything the Democrats have lost.

I don’t see a short or easy path out of that for the Republicans. But Republicans can, in my opinion, to reassess their focus, and put it back on getting things done for Americans, rather than just keeping the party going like it is now.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 2, 2010 10:06 PM
Comment #298407

Stephen

That source of yours didn’t do very much research. We don’t know how it will all come out in the end, but historically the what has become the Tea Party demographic has not been much of a problem.

But why don’t leftists rejoice. If you are right, conservatives will be under counted. We no longer have to worry about discrimination in counting.

Posted by: C&J at April 2, 2010 11:04 PM
Comment #298414

C+J-
I asked you to source your claim. I’m not doubting that inner city and poverty areas will still be undercounted. One fact you should be aware of is that statistical smoothing of population counts is not a factor here, since that has been ruled illegal long ago.

More to the point Democrats and their appointees have, given the choice, not gone through with controversial measures of that kind. So, it’s kind of a moot point to be criticizing the Democrats for.

So why doesn’t this leftist rejoice?

First, I’m not as much of a leftist as you think I am. I was just fine with Clinton’s centrism. I was not that deadset against Democrats in the early Bush administration making deals with the GOP, negotiating with Bush. I didn’t like Bush, and I thought he was foolish to be so brazenly disrespectful of the vote counting in Florida, but once he became President, I made the same peace with him that I had earlier made with Clinton back when I identified as a Republican.

Second, I’m rule-following sort of guy. I don’t like cheating, and winning by cheating seems distasteful to me.

Third, I value the integrity of our systems. One reason I fell out of love with the Republicans where I once identified with them was that it seemed more of them were willing to do damage to law and order and the systems of government. I was never and still am not a big fan of a blind rush to bigger bureaucracies, but my defining ideology, if I have one, is that a system should function as it should, even if that’s not always to my advantage.

I want to do things right, not just win a contest.

You mentioned North Dakota. It’s high return rate probably has more to do with a certain kind of Midwestern culture that values social responsiblity and implicit respect for the rules.

As the article says:

But some North Dakotans, where the state capital, Bismarck, had the nation’s fourth-highest response rate among larger cities as of Wednesday night, suggested a simpler answer. Perhaps it was the way of thinking around here — some combination, they said, of being practical, orderly, undistracted and mostly accepting of the rules, whatever they are. “We have a high degree of trust in our elected officials,” said Curt Stofferahn, a rural sociologist at the University of North Dakota, “and that carries over to times like these.”

The question is how this translates to movements that are highly partisan, willfully disruptive, tied in knots by anxiety and fearmongering rhetoric, and not at all accepting of having others impose rules on them. They’re not trusting of their elected officials- in essence, the complete opposite of the Midwesterners that cooperate.

You’re citing the wrong folks to suggest that I’m wrong about the Tea Partisans.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2010 10:02 AM
Comment #298438

The Tea Party platform will likely look like a cross-hatched thatch roof. Never have so many known so little about nothing. The only thing they know for sure is that they are one, united, unhappy bunch of loud-mouthed trouble makers.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 3, 2010 4:18 PM
Comment #298455

Marysdude-
In my opinion, the folks who have organized the sudden rise of the Tea Party movement had no real ideological goal aside from keeping Republicans voting for Republicans in a time where even the Republican’s constituents don’t like their party much. It’s their way of coopting the dissatisfaction with the GOP among folks on the right to keep people voting for the GOP.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 4, 2010 7:13 AM
Comment #298461

Yeah…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 4, 2010 1:09 PM
Comment #298470

Stephen

Both of us (C&J) were born in Wisconsin and we believe that if people behaved better (i.e. more like upper Midwesterners, especially those outside the big cities) we would all be better off.

I just think that you might wait and see who answers the census and who doesn’t. Most people will end up cooperating but there will be some variations. My guess is that the more settled and law-abiding folks will send their forms back and the more transient and free-spirited won’t Furthermore, I think that if you don’t want to be counted, too bad for you and your local community. It wouldn’t be a terrible thing if North Dakota values had a disproportionately greater pull than some others I can think of.

Actually, I think it should be like registering for the draft. If you don’t send back the census forms, I think you should be ineligible for government benefits. If the Tea Party members or anybody else doesn’t want to be part of the citizen body, let them experience the consequences of their choices.

Posted by: C&J at April 4, 2010 5:42 PM
Comment #298475

C+J-
My attitude is we wouldn’t need government if we could reasonably leave people to suffer for their own mistakes.

Problem is, most people who gain a lot from being dishonest with money are dishonest with somebody else’s money, and in the case of the folks on Wall Street, they were dishonest with more than two trillion dollars of America’s capital. People like that, they don’t necessarily feel the consequences from their bad bets unless they go to jail, or end up seeing their business destroyed. Even then, they fight it. They don’t sit passively by and accept people’s anger. They fight it, because they believe that all this is just bad luck. Like somebody gambling with embezzled money, they already passed the point where they feel sorry for what they did. They are already committed to a selfish course of action, and unless they have a strong conscience, they normally don’t let the reckoning occur as plan.

What does this have to do with the Tea Party folks?

The course of action they will take, that in some ways they’re already taking doesn’t simply give them bad luck. They would have us hand over control of the government, in some part, or whole to them. They stir up fears of disenfranchisement. Do you think they’ll blame themselves when the districts disappear, or might they see nebulous forces at work?

I would like to think that people would naturally side with the policies that experts generally agree would be helpful. Hell, the Aspergers Syndrome practically has me rooting for that to happen. But that’s not what happens.

People can panic. They can lash out. They can run their thoughts with great force along the pre-carved channels of intellectual habit. Logic and disciplined approaches to policy take work, take struggle.

The political system on the right is badly broken. There’s a critical feedback loop missing there. The people who are supposed to keep the party from going to far off the edge are in fact the ones who have the most to gain from it remaining there. Whatever Republicans like to think, most people do not get their news from the Conservative Media, and what most people see and here, while not necessarily liberally bias isn’t deliberately filtered to be flattering to Republicans. That means the scandals and other things that Conservatives won’t attend to, they will, and that will affect you politically.

But if you view everything through the lense of Bias theory, then you won’t accept that, you’ll dispute it and try to rationalize it. There will always be a bit of friction from that, wearing away credibility, wearing away the party’s political capital with the middle, a process that attention hungry folks in the Right Wing media will not get in the way of. They need people more dependent on them, more fearful of the mainstream media being stacked up against them.

It’s an ever escalating thickening of the media bubble, C+J, ever escalating oblivion to the real world for a major part of the American political landscape.

I don’t mind debate, but that’s not what this has become. When they don’t even look at consumer inflation numbers before deciding deficits are the driving problem, or the incidence of foreclosures among those covered by a certain law, before blaming the law for the real-estate crash, they’re not merely being partisan, they’re not bothering to test their theories before they diagnose, not bothering to confirm their diagnosis before they prescribe the solution, and not bothering to observe the effect of the treatment before they pronounce its success.

In short, The Republicans have decided to base the driving force of their policies on their own willpower and faith in their political principles. But nobody’s good enough to do that, not Democrats, certainly not Republicans or independents. A government that does not get held responsible for its actions is not a government that will learn how to run policy better when it makes mistakes.

Republican policy expertise has eroded because their party supports those who don’t give the opening to Democrats of admitting mistakes or errors in judgment about policies. The don’t allow points to be conceded even when it’s right to. No party can avoid disaster if it will not let itself admit that a disaster may be on the way. It will simply rewrite and revise its own story until it is satisfied that it won’t suffer negative consequences.

Fox News is helping solidify this lack of accountability, making it more important how fervent people are about ideology, rather than how well they run the government they are tasked with running, delegated the power to run.

My observation about natural selection is that it doesn’t cater to universal fitness, but provisional fitness within the given environment. The Republican system, whether we’re speaking of the Tea Partisans, or the party faithful, encourages the development of politicians who oppose Democrats most fervently, who cover their butts on policy most persistently.

Who needs people who run a government well in its current state, when it should be smaller anyways? Who wants it to succeed as it is, and give people reason to keep it? Why not let things go bad, then blame government size?

Why make things more efficient, when that will encourage people to keep programs around, when it will reinforce the legitimacy of those programs? Why be bipartisan as a minority when that will improve the credibility of their legislation with your moderate constituents?

The problem of oppositional politics is that it inevitably weakens your ability to do anything but continue to fight, even when you have to betray the principles you once aligned yourself to, the policies you once suggested, in order to keep up the struggle.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 4, 2010 10:49 PM
Comment #298476

South Dakota, not North Dakota is leading with returns of census….

http://politifi.com/news/Iowa-ranks-No-4-in-census-form-returns-672326.html

Posted by: jane doe at April 4, 2010 11:41 PM
Comment #298480

Stephen,

Two things you said that bear repeating:

Republican policy expertise has eroded because their party supports those who don’t give the opening to Democrats of admitting mistakes or errors in judgment about policies. The don’t allow points to be conceded even when it’s right to. No party can avoid disaster if it will not let itself admit that a disaster may be on the way. It will simply rewrite and revise its own story until it is satisfied that it won’t suffer negative consequences.

The Republican system, whether we’re speaking of the Tea Partisans, or the party faithful, encourages the development of politicians who oppose Democrats most fervently, who cover their butts on policy most persistently.

The Republican Party has chosen a ruinous journey into the abyss, and are hell bent on taking everyone else down with it.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 5, 2010 5:05 AM
Comment #298590

After the phony, scam artists killed ACORN. we can rest assured that inner-city citizens will come up short in this census. That group would have had some door-to-door activity assisting census takers. It would have been nice to have a more thorough count…but…oh, well…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 7, 2010 7:30 PM
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