Karl Rove isn’t the only conservative slightly concerned that right-leaning Americans will take a pass on filling out the census. On today’s Special Report, Chris Wallace hosted a round table discussion with Tucker Carlson, Charles Krauthammer, and A.B. Stoddard on the matter. With the exception of Carlson, the conservative analysts agreed: not filling out the census is “stupid.” So why are conservatives so averse to filling it out?
Well, a good place to start answering that question is Carlson’s response to having to identify one’s race. Carlson, whose libertarianism has become increasingly radical since the launch of The Daily Caller, evoked General Sherman and Japanese internment camps to make the point that the government cannot be trusted with any information, and that “you don’t have to be crazy to raise the question.” He was outnumbered in this opinion, with Stoddard blaming “anti-government conservatives” for essentially destroying the American right from within and Krauthammer taking the middle road, pointing out that race identification on the census is problematic and a federal overreach but that, nonetheless, the census is a “sacred civic institution.”
The conversation highlights the sharp divide between the consistency of libertarian conservatives and the inconsistency of the Rovian neo-cons. Carlson, wacky and paranoid as his argument may sound, is being consistent with his ideology is attacking the census. People like Rove and Stoddard, however, were happy to use the census against Obama when they had a chance. Take a look, for example, at the following exchange from last June between Republican Michele Bachmann and the more libertarian-leaning Glenn Beck:
Bachmann is right– there is a time at which the American people have to say “enough is enough” to government intrusion. The implementation of the PATRIOT Act, for example, would have been a good time for that attitude– people like Beck and Carlson were sure shouting about it as loud as they could, just as they are now about the race question on the census. The release of the census– something that is required by the Constitution Bachmann claims to love so dearly– is not one of those times, and if Carlson and Beck are just as wrong as Bachmann and Rove previously used to be, at least their core beliefs are not wavering in the face of political loss.
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