The Philadelphia Inquirer really came up with some editorial doo-doo over the weekend (here) that I simply must share with you concerning the travails of President Obama as he tries to find commerce secretary…
U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg (R., N.H.) withdrew Thursday as the nominee for the post, citing “irresolvable conflicts” with Obama over his economic-stimulus plan and fear of what many Republicans view as the politicization of the 2010 census.
Uh, Inquirer Editorial Board? Please allow me to point out the following from Media Matters (here), in which Gregg claimed that the census was “not a major issue” concerning his withdrawal from consideration for the job at Commerce.
But the Gregg choice was undercut almost immediately. On the day of the announcement, a “senior White House official” told Congressional Quarterly that the director of the Census Bureau would no longer report to the commerce secretary, but to the White House. This was later changed to say that the still-unnamed census boss would work “closely with White House senior management.”
By then it was still a shot at Gregg’s integrity and a threat to the fairness and accuracy of the census.
(Yes, I know I already pointed out that the Inky was dead wrong, but I just excerpted these two paragraphs so we can all see how deep a hole they dug for themselves here, in a manner of speaking.)
If there are problems with the census, let’s fix them.
But the changes should not take place inside the White House. Instead, let’s debate any recommendations, including one bill that would make the bureau an independent agency, in public. Or use the confirmation hearings for the next Commerce nominee – if anyone will take the job – to discuss how the census will be done in a fair and accurate way.
But before the confirmation hearings begin, the president – and not an afraid-to-be-named “senior White House official” – should make two things clear:
Oh, that’s hilarious, Inky (and the “two things” were to “let Census Bureau professionals do their job without political interference, and that (Obama) trusts his nominee to oversee that process,” just for the record).
I have the following questions: how many bloody times did the Inquirer run editorials or news stories during the dark Bushco days in which “a senior White House official” was quoted on administration policy? So now the paper is telling us that they won’t extend the same privilege to Obama that they extended to President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History?
What a joke.
And just to refresh our memories (speaking of Commander Codpiece), here is a reminder of how the census was politicized to begin with; as the New York Times told us previously, the director of the Census Bureau, C. Louis Kincannon, and the deputy director, Hermann Habermann, abruptly decided to quit, acknowledging tensions with their bosses in the Bush administration but giving no other details (Bushco’s commerce secretary, Carlos Gutierrez, failed to appropriate enough money from Congress to conduct the census properly, and while the Times’ editorial doesn’t directly name Gutierrez as the source of the tension that impacted Kincannon and Habermann, would it have been so surprising if that were the case?).
So before you begin hatching conspiracies on the census that don’t exist, Inky, why not devote a little editorial space to the matter of why Dubya could not at least have acted like a president (to say nothing of even acting like an adult) and ensure that at least the bloody 2010 census was managed properly for the handoff to Obama, OK?
And also, as long as we’re on the subject of the house organ for Brian Tierney and Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C., I just wanted to point out something in Former Senator Man-On-Dog’s “Elephant Poop In The Room” screed last Thursday.
Little Ricky alleged that Dutch filmmaker and politician Geert Wilders was being persecuted since he was banned from entering the United Kingdom for “inciting hatred and discrimination,” with Santorum telling us that Wilders’ film Fitna “suggests a direct link between certain verses of the Koran and acts of terrorism,” and implying that the U.K.’s policy gives Islam a pass.
Well, Wilders went a little beyond that as far as I’m concerned; I’m not the biggest fan of Islam, but when someone (Wilders) alleges a link between the Koran and Mein Kampf, they’d better be ready for some kind of a response (this is pointed out in this New York Times news story, which also tells us that “the Home Office approved a visa in 2004 for Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatar-based cleric who had called suicide bombers ‘martyrs’ and said husbands should be allowed to beat ‘disobedient’ wives, before barring him last year from a second visit” – at least the Home Office got it right on the second try.)
And speaking of terrorism, this New York Times story today tells us that, “Countries that have adopted a ‘war on terror’ response to terrorism have done ‘immense damage’ to international law and human rights, according to a special panel set up by the International Commission of Jurists, a Geneva-based group of lawyers and judges.”
Update 2/20/09: Lots of good debunking of “Obama and the census” spin/mythology/nonsense here…