Conservatives must stop demonizing the census

The U.S. Constitution requires that the government conduct a census every ten years. Population counts determine federal funding for various programs, as well as the number of Congressional districts allocated to each state, so the public interest in conducting a thorough census is obvious.

The next census will take place in 2010, but some right-wing loudmouths and Republican politicians have unfortunately demonized the effort as an intrusive government plot. Over at Think Progress, Faiz Shakir recaps some of the paranoid chatter from Representative Michele Bachmann (MN-06) and Glenn Beck of Fox News. Shakir also cites radio host Neal Boortz, who told his listeners, "Most of the rest of the [Census] information is designed to help the government steal from you in order to pass off your property to the moochers. They're looters."

Not long ago I discussed my worries about the rhetoric of armed resistance coming from the political right, and I've been reflecting on this problem since I heard about census-taker Bill Sparkman's murder. Sparkman was found naked and bound with "fed" written on his chest and his census ID taped to his neck. In rural Kentucky,

Sparkman's gruesome death has ignited a debate over whether it was a byproduct of harsh anti-government rhetoric on talk shows, blogs and protests. Residents of impoverished Clay County say most people harbor no resentment for agents of the federal government, and they're baffled by Sparkman's apparent killing.

Sheriff Kevin Johnson, a native, said most residents feel a measure of gratitude to the federal government.

"We've been a poverty-stricken area pretty much all our lives," he said. "The government's taking care of 70 percent of people here, through Social Security, SSI, food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid."

None of those programs could function without the demographic data the Census Bureau provides.

If conservative politicians and opinion leaders keep stoking fears about the government using census data to steal from or perhaps even round up law-abiding citizens, I am concerned that mentally unstable individuals will commit further acts of violence against census-takers next year. Republicans should condemn the hatemongers and make clear that the census is not only permitted, but required under the Constitution.

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When will Glenn Beck turn on Bachman and Romney?

One of Glenn Beck's big complaints (and lies) is that Barack Obama has surrounded himself with socialists, communists, anti-capitalists, and "revolutionaries".

So what I'd like to know is, if revolutionaries are a bad thing, will Beck be just as vocal with denunciations of self-proclaimed revolutionaries James Inhofe, John McCain, Michelle Bachmann, and Mitt Romney? And if not, will he then admit to being nothing more than a fear-mongering charlatan and a partisan fraud? I think you know the answers.

At a town hall Wednesday night, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) told constituents, "We're almost reaching a revolution in this country."

The reason? "People are not buying these concepts that are completely foreign to America." ...

Inhofe isn't the first to predict a revolution. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told a town hall on Tuesday, "We're seeing the beginning of a peaceful -- and I emphasize peaceful -- revolt in America."

In March, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) called for citizens to be "armed and dangerous" against an energy tax and that "having a revolution every now and then is a good thing."

And in May, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney said Republicans need to "once again lead the American Revolution."

Here's another interesting Beck tidbit: Orly Taitz, queen of the birthers, she of the lawsuits and the fradulent Kenya birth certificate, watches Glenn Beck and thinks you should too. A stirring endorsement for the man, no?

The good news is that ten more companies have pulled their advertising from Beck, bringing the total to fifty. And these companies aren't nothing - among the newest ten are Bank of America, Travelers Insurance, and Vonage. Many of the ads we know and love/hate - the Travelers J umbrella insurance, the Geico cavemen - are gone from Beck. The question is, when will Beck be gone too?

Visit The Color of Change to learn what you can do to help stop Glenn Beck, and apparently Orly Taitz as well.

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When will Glenn Beck turn on Inhofe and Romney?

One of Glenn Beck's big complaints is that Barack Obama has surrounded himself with socialists, communists, anti-capitalists, and "revolutionaries".

So what I'd like to know is, if revolutionaries are a bad thing, will Beck be just as vocal with denunciations of self-proclaimed revolutionaries James Inhofe, John McCain, Michelle Bachmann, and Mitt Romney? And if not, will he then admit to being nothing more than a fear-mongering charlatan and a partisan fraud? I think you know the answers.

At a town hall Wednesday night, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) told constituents, "We're almost reaching a revolution in this country."

The reason? "People are not buying these concepts that are completely foreign to America." ...

Inhofe isn't the first to predict a revolution. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told a town hall on Tuesday, "We're seeing the beginning of a peaceful -- and I emphasize peaceful -- revolt in America."

In March, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) called for citizens to be "armed and dangerous" against an energy tax and that "having a revolution every now and then is a good thing."

And in May, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney said Republicans need to "once again lead the American Revolution."

Visit The Color of Change to learn what you can do to help stop Glenn Beck.

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The MYDD hot 100 (funding)

Desmoinesdem and his argument in Next cycle, donate strategically--not emotionally got me thinking.

It is not the case of either or, but rather harnessing the emotion to further strategic goals. The emotional money is most likely in addition to any rational donation strategy. NormDollar.com shows that emotion can be harnessed.

A possibility below.

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Next cycle, donate strategically--not emotionally

Last October, Representative Michele "Crazy as Steve King" Bachmann (MN-06) disgraced herself on "Hardball" and sparked a ridiculously successful fundraising drive for her Democratic opponent, El Tinklenberg. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and kicked in a few bucks for Tinklenberg myself, but I was dismayed to see bloggers continue to help him raise money even after he'd raised more than $750,000 and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had promised to spend an additional $1 million in his district. Within a few days of Bachmann's notorious comments, Tinklenberg had more money than he needed to run a solid media and GOTV campaign during the final two weeks before the election.

Since most Congressional races against incumbents are longshots, I wanted to see the netroots expand the field by raising $50,000 or more for a large number of unheralded challengers.

A fellow Iowa blogger sent me this piece from CQ Politics about how Tinklenberg's campaign committee was the largest donor to the DCCC in March, giving a total of $250,000:

You may recall that his Republican opponent was Rep. Michele Bachmann, whose mid-October comment that Obama "may have anti-American views" angered Democrats nationwide and spawned an avalanche of contributions to Tinklenberg in the waning days of a campaign that Bachmann won by 46 percent to 43 percent, with a third-party candidate taking 10 percent.

Apparently the money was coming in too fast for Tinklenberg to spend completely: he raised $3 million for his campaign, of which $1.9 million came in after October 15, and had $453,000 in leftover campaign funds at the end of 2008 and $184,000 at the end of March.

I'm not saying it wasn't worth getting behind Tinklenberg. Bachmann is among the worst Republicans in Congress, and this district rightly seemed winnable. However, the netroots clearly funneled way more money to Tinklenberg than he could spend effectively.

What if a million of the dollars we sent to the MN-06 race had been spread around 15 or 20 other districts? A bunch of the candidates I wanted to support as part of an expanded field got blown out by large margins, but an extra $50,000 could have made the difference for Josh Segall in AL-03, or for several candidates who weren't on my radar, such as Bill Hedrick in CA-44.

The netroots rally for Tinklenberg started out as a good cause but took on a momentum of its own. It didn't help that Tinklenberg sent out fundraising e-mails to his new donors every day or two during the home stretch, even after he had more than enough money to close out the campaign.

Maybe the majority of blog readers who gave $10 or $20 or $50 to Tinklenberg wouldn't have given to some other longshot Congressional challenger. Maybe people need an emotional trigger before they are willing to open their wallets. But in future election cycles, we need to be smarter about how we focus our energy and our fundraising efforts during the final weeks of a campaign. There's no shortage of wingnuts worth targeting. Also, a fair number of good incumbent Democrats will probably need our help in 2010, depending on how the economy looks 18 months from now.

Any ideas or suggestions on how to raise money effectively during the next cycle would be welcome in this thread.

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