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The federal government, brought to you by Orwell

Prodded by Bill Press, Robert Gibbs took a swing at RedState's Erick Erickson -- a blogger and local officeholder in Georgia -- for saying he'd "pull out my wife's shotgun and see how that little twerp likes being scared at the door" if a census worker wanted him to turn in the American Community Survey. (Press, who once got Gibbs on the record attacking "birthers," often prods the White House to respond to right wing lunacies of the week.) So far, Erickson's responded only by printing some threatening mail he's received.

But for all the attention paid to the census, the ACS is becoming a real irritant to conservatives. Take, for example, this Weekly Standard piece by Daniel Freedman, who reluctantly filled out the survey and faced down bureaucrats who, having failed to locate it, came to his door to demand he fill it out. The government, argues Freedman, shouldn't have sent the thing in the first place.

Most creepy of all are the questions about your daily routine. The ACS wants to know where you work, what time you leave for work, how you get to work, how long it takes you to get to work, and how many people travel with you.

Downright Orwellian.

I think the anger about the ACS -- being sent to 250,000 random households per month -- is going to stick around. The U.S. Census Bureau is trying to defuse paranoia about the process with ads like this one, in which a taxidermist frets that the forms will ask him personal information, then relaxes when he discovers that they're not so invasive after all. Hand that taxidermist the ACS and he might flip off the cameraman.

By David Weigel  |  April 6, 2010; 5:21 PM ET
Categories:  Conservatives  
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