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The Men Who Saved the Census

One of the reasons Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and his anonymous entourage are citing for his withdrawal of his nomination for commerce secretary was the Obama administration’s plan to take control the Census—which had been under the purview of Commerce for decades—away from the Commerce Department and move it directly into the White House. House Republicans had been hammering this point for days, with not a lot of buzz, not even for a press conference they held on the issue this morning. They’re declaring victory now. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.):

President Obama’s reckless actions have now cost him an able and respected cabinet secretary. Is the President still willing to pursue his unprecedented power grab over the census now that he has seen the consequences? Senator Gregg is to be commended for his unwillingness to compromise his principles for the sake of political ascension. I hope the President is inspired by the courage of Senator Gregg’s convictions. I know I am.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.):

As Senator Gregg alluded to in his statement, the Administration’s stimulus package was one reason for withdrawing his name from consideration.

The other reason was the injection of Chicago-style politics into the nonpartisan Census process. This was an outrageous and unprecedented attempt to politicize the Census. I commend Senator Gregg for his decision to stand by his principles and withdraw his name from consideration. Regardless of who the President nominates to serve as Secretary of Commerce, Republicans will continue to demand a fair Census that is not manipulated by White House political operatives.

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.):

The President’s politically charged move to place the nonpartisan census process in the hands of his staff contradicts every pledge of openness he made on the campaign trail. While the White House continues to break promises for politics, I commend Senator Gregg for acting with integrity.

Let’s see how much we hear about this in the coming days. It strikes me as an inside-inside the beltway issue that no voters will care about, and indeed, the Washington press corps wasn’t even biting.

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