Saturday, March 27, 2010

Don't Count on Me!

Because of population growth during the past decade, Texas could gain four additional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives once the 2010 Census is completed. However, only 27 percent of Texans have mailed in their census forms as of Friday. The national average is 34 percent. The response rate is even lower in several rural, traditionally conservative Texas counties, such as King (5 percent), Briscoe (8 percent) and Culberson (11 percent).

A handful of Republican representatives are blaming the low response on anti-Washington sentiments, which makes for delicious irony given the GOP's ongoing attempts to make political hay out of those sentiments. Suddenly, guys like Rep. Ted Poe (R-Humble) are acknowledging the "apparent intrusive nature" of the census on one hand while cajoling their constituents to mail in their census forms on the other.

"It's very important for people to fill out the census because of reapportionment and redistricting," Poe says, "and Texas stands to gain four seats."

In other words, pretending you're off the grid is fine so long as it doesn't squander my party's potential political capital.

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