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Judd Gregg and Census 2010

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Sayonara, Judd Gregg!  You were never a good pick for Commerce Secretary, given your enthusiasm towards the outsourcing of American jobs, and your general right-wing attitudes, of which I am quite aware being a former New Hampshire resident.  But it is hard to understand why you would first seek the Commerce Secretary position, and then embarassingly reject it after you were chosen by President Obama.  That will not encourage further outreach to Republican officials, who seem to be losers  for the Obama Administration. 

Nor are you a person of courage, or you would have voted for the economic stimulus bill which has now passed both Houses of Congress.  You could have joined your two Senatorial colleagues from Maine, and one from Pennsylvania, who courageously broke ranks to do the right thing.  Instead, you abstained, doing the cowardly thing. 

However, the underlying issue in your abrupt withdrawal from candidacy for the Commerce post may well be Census 2010.  Here, I must cite the Obama Administration for seeking to remove part or all of the Census work from the Commerce Department, where it has resided for a long, long time.  But as the saying goes, two wrongs do not make a right.  The Republican view regarding the Census Bureau, and now specifically the upcoming Census 2010, is that the traditional Census undercount is good for Republicans and bad for Democrats.   It therefore would have  been expected that the Obama people had some reservations about leaving you in charge of that vital enumeration, which controls our Congressional seats.

As a footsoldier myself during the historic Census 2000, I witnessed the undercount firsthand in Vermont and Massachusetts; as the deadline approached for finishing the national enumeration, we census workers were more and more rushed, receiving intensifying pressure to just come up with some kind of number for our remaining households.  Those other vital demographic specifics we were supposedly listing got lost in the shuffle and the time pressure, a fact I called to the attention of the Boston regional census office.  Let's just say that this truth was not well received.

Republicans like an undercount because those omitted are, more often than not, inner city residents and others who tend to vote Democratic.  If the Republicans had their way, they would probably ask political affiliation on the census, and only count those who answered the "right" way.  The Democrats' solution to the undercount is to do computer modeling so that allowances are made for those omitted, without regard to political affiliation. In reality, though, that modeling would probably turn out to Democratic advantage, as more of the omitted are in Democratic districts--but if that is the reality, then it is really the facts which advantage Democrats; why not?

Judd Gregg, then, would have been able, and presumably willing, to have the upcoming Census 2010 work to Republican advantage in any House of Representatives redistricting which results from that event.  For all we know, that might have been a significant reason in his initial enthusiasm over becoming the next Commerce Secretary and thus being in control of Census 2010.  When he learned that the Obama Administration wants closer control of that Census, understandably to reduce the likelihood of another undercount, perhaps that reduced his enthusiasm for the Commerce post.  Regardless of his exact reasons for dropping out, which may never be fully known, Judd Gregg embarrassed himself more than he embarrassed Barack Obama by doing so.  Sayonara, Judd Gregg!

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Author's Biography Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)

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