Last month, I pointed out an instance where RedState contributor "Hogan" essentially called RedState Editor and CNN Contributor Erick Erickson a "freaking idiot." Today, RedState continues the self-flagellation by hosting an article that essentially calls RedState out for "blatant misinformation."
Quick background: For the past few months, conservatives have been engaged in an ongoing campaign to demonize the census as an evil liberal plot. For example, here's Glenn Beck on March 9:
BECK: At least in 1790, they were doing it to slow the South down on slavery. To try to stop it as much as they can. Today they are asking the race question to try to increase slavery. Your dependence on the master in Washington. No way, don't answer that question.
Beck certainly wasn't alone in demonizing the census. Fox Nation fear mongered about census workers being "Obama's Army." On Fox News, Michelle Malkin called the census "indoctrination," "Alinskyite," and a "way to ensure a permanent [Dem] ruling majority."
Throughout all of this, conservatives were trying to thwart the census from gathering race data needed to enforce federal laws. This took the form of a childish campaign to fill in the "race" question on the census as "Amercan." For example, here's Moe Lane writing at RedState, in a post titled "I Am An American," subtitled "Pass it on":
With regard to the Census, that is. Particularly with regard to the Census.
So is Gabriel Major.
So is Scott Johnson.
So is Mark Krikorian:
So remember: Question 9 -- "Some other race" -- "American". Pass it on.
Indeed. Unfortunately for irresponsible conservative media figures -- and, some might say, "everyone" -- a large number of people take what they say seriously. Their campaign of fear and misinformation about the census has had some unintended consequences. Here's a Houston Chronicle article from March 27:
Texas is counting on the 2010 Census to deliver four new congressional districts, four new Electoral College votes in presidential elections, and millions of dollars in additional federal aid. But, as some elected officials are starting to worry, Uncle Sam can't deliver anything to the rapidly growing Sun Belt state unless Texas residents deliver their forms back to the government.
As of Friday afternoon, only 27 percent of Texas households had filled in and returned their census forms -- well below the national average of 34 percent -- according to computer data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In Harris County, the response rate is 23 percent. Houston's returns are running at 21 percent.
Contrary to historical trends, some of the toughest challenges facing the agency responsible for measuring the nation's population are not from counting the traditionally undercounted groups such as African-Americans and Latinos. Instead, a new and growing threat to an accurate national head count is coming from anti-government conservatives who may not fill out their forms to protest against "Big Brother" in Washington.
So, what now? Well RedState, a mere three weeks after encouraging their readers to not accurately fill out the census and to "pass it on," is hosting a piece from Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) titled "Returning the Census is Our Constitutional Duty." From the post:
No, what worries me is blatant misinformation coming from otherwise well-meaning conservatives. They are trying to do the right thing, but instead they are helping big government liberals by discouraging fellow conservatives from filling out their census forms.
Anyone who tells you that this year's census is unconstitutional and that you are not required to fill out the form completely is flat out wrong. They argue that because this year's census asks for more than a simple count of how many people live in your home, it is unconstitutional and therefore should not be completely filled out. That argument doesn't stand up to either history or the Constitution's text.
Good to know.
This entire episode is reminiscent of Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) crusade against the census. As documented by TPM back in January, Bachmann joined Glenn Beck in demonizing the census last year, claiming that she would refuse to fill it out. Surely by coincidence, once it came to light that incomplete census data could result in Minnesota losing Bachmann's seat, she dropped her opposition.
Hey, what's a little "slavery" if we can get some more congressional seats?