Friday, April 2, 2010

Pat McHenry calls Beck and Limbaugh liars

Posted By on Fri, Apr 2, 2010 at 1:49 PM

We’ve written much here about the spreading lunacy in America’s right wing. If you still need evidence that what used to pass for conservatism has gone off the rails, consider this: Rep. Patrick McHenry of Cherryville, N.C. — one of the most right-wing conservatives in Congress, last seen here trying to replace U.S. Grant with Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill — now comes across as the voice of reason when talking about the census.

Right-wing nuts have been warning Americans for months that the census is somehow dangerous and even unconstitutional. Um, one little problem with that argument? The Constitution specifically says the government must conduct a census every 10 years, and gives it broad powers to do so, in "such manner as they shall by Law direct."

Wingnut queen Rep. Michele Bachman of Minnesota, however, claimed that gathering information could lead to the government putting Americans in internment camps. Erick Erickson, the, er, high-strung founder of the ultra-right Red State Web site (and, astoundingly, now also a CNN contributor), said, “I’m not filling out this form. I dare them to try and come throw me in jail ... Pull out my wife’s shotgun and see how that little ACS [American Community Survey] twerp likes being scared at the door. They’re not going on my property. They can’t do that. They don’t have the legal right, and yet they’re trying.” (Repeat: this guy is now being paid by CNN to sling this kind of nonsense — why not tell CNN what you think about that?)

Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have both urged listeners to not fill out the entire form (Beck even warned that filling in the “race” question would — get this — “increase slavery”). Please note, if you’re planning to follow Erickson’s or RushBeck’s advice, you’ll be breaking federal law. Also note that you can receive low-cost mental health care over on Billingsley Road.

Now here comes Lil’ Pat McHenry who, although he’s generally no more clearheaded than RushBeck, does have a job in which he can use census figures to justify pork barrel legislation for his district. Lil’ Pat went to Erickson’s own Web site to tell conservatives to cut out the bullshit (well, in so many words), and remind them that filling out the census is their "Constitutional duty."

“What worries me is blatant misinformation coming from otherwise well-meaning conservatives," says the Wee One. "Anyone who tells you that this year’s census is unconstitutional and that you are not required to fill out the form completely is flat out wrong.” He goes on to mention that the most GOP-friendly districts in Texas currently have some of the lowest census return rates, and reminds readers that voters who do not fill out the census forms are not only breaking the law, they risk being under-represented in Congress (and also risk receiving a smaller cut of services from the government).

As the likes of RushBeck keep drifting farther and farther afield, you can gauge just how out of touch with reality their lies and bluster have become by remembering one thing: even Patrick McHenry, as dedicated a right-wing crusader as you'll find anywhere, thinks they’ve gone too far.

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