Data Ownership

As an analyst, one of the things that fascinates me about the latest Obama cabinet snafu is that it centers around data ownership.  GOP Senator Judd Gregg had been nominated to head the Commerce Department, but withdrew his nomination yesterday over “irresolvable conflicts“, large among which was disagreement over management of the US Census.  Although the Census has traditionally been run by the Commerce Department, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had indicated after Gregg’s nomination that the Census Bureau would be moved to report directly to senior White House officials.

Effectively, this would have created for Emanuel the largest political polling organization in the world — funded at government expense. Having influence into census methodologies, questions asked, and the priorities of census data analysts would not only give political operatives in the White House an incredible data edge of their opponents, it would also give them an inside edge on redrawing congressional districts as the result of the 2010 census.

For those with a great deal of faith in the chances of putting together a truly “bipartisan” cabinet, Gregg’s withdrawal is a setback. However, the fact that other members of the administration were seeking to take from Gregg’s control any politically potent processes, the commitment to real bipartisanship seems to have been shallow anyway. And one hopes that with a new nominee the Census Bureau will stay in the Commerce Department and remain less politicized than it would have if reporting to Rahm Emanuel.

18 Responses to Data Ownership

  • I am not sure how much of an issue this was. Gregg would have been reporting to Rahm Emmanuel and Obama either way on the census, and he knew that when he accepted the position. Ambinder claims it’s not a real issue, but it’s hard to know who to believe here.

  • JH makes good point to note the difficulty of believing anybody in this mess. But the very notion that the President wanted bipartisan representation in his cabinet was dashed this week by the Porkapalooza Bill. Wherein Senate and Congressional Republicans were handed sneak previews of the bill and told sign off on this now. The House GOP handed it back unsigned en masse. The only Pub Senators who went with the program were the Three RINOs- Specter, Collins, Snowe. It is pleasing to see that the George W. Bush style of collegiality- perhaps his fatal flaw as President- is as irrelevant as refrains about Hope and Change. Sen. Gregg concluded he was not up to those standards. Or down to them. Thank you Senator for your attack of sanity.

  • Maybe I’m projecting some corporate power struggles I’m dealing with myself this week onto another situation, but the desire to have census report directly to the White House rather than through Commerce struck me as a very clear “you’re a figurhead and you won’t be allowed to act independantly” message. But as I may, perhaps I’m just projecting.

  • Agreed Darwin (not with the bit about projection). It struck me as a kind of slap in the face, and it certainly was reported that way or worse in the conservative blogosphere. The problem, of course, is that in the blogosphere information tends to lag opinion formation. When well-connected and generally fair people like Ambinder say it’s a non-issue, it’s hard to know what to think.

  • JH,

    if that were the case then they wouldn’t have made the change to the census bureau. Obviously, they could have manipulated the census under Gregg, but they could not have done so without it coming out in public, he would have been able to blow the whistle if they tried.

  • Sen. Gregg withdrew because (1) Obama’s chutzpah crossed the line and (2) Obama CANNOT put away his “birth certificate” issue.

    1. Here’s the chutzpah: The Republicans didn’t get their act together enough to challenge Obama for not being constitutionally qualified to be President as an Article 2 “natural born citizen” so Obama’s White House steals the census from the Commerce Department against the specific instructions of the constitution itself — “actual enumeration” under Article 1.

    2. Here’s the “birth certificate” issue: Since Obama’s earnest drive to convince the nation to weaken its economic strength through redistribution as well as weaken its national defense, COUPLED WITH HIS UNPRECEDENTED WHITE HOUSE TAKEOVER OF DECENNIAL CENSUS TAKING FROM THE COMMERCE DEPARTMENT, has confirmed the very threats to our Republic’s survival that the Constitution was designed to avert, it no longer is sustainable for the United States Supreme Court to refrain from exercising WHAT IS ITS ABSOLUTE CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY TO DEFEND THE NATION FROM UNLAWFUL USURPATION. The questions of Obama’s Kenyan birth and his father’s Kenyan/British citizenship (admitted on his own website) have been conflated by his sustained unwillingnes to supply his long form birth certificate now under seal, and compounded by his internet posting of a discredited ‘after-the-fact’ short form ‘certificate’. In the absence of these issues being acknowledged and addressed, IT IS MANIFEST THAT OBAMA REMAINS INELIGIBLE TO BE PRESIDENT UNDER ARTICLE 2 OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. Being a 14th Amendment ‘citizen’ is not sufficient. A ‘President’ MUST BE an Article 2 ‘natural born citizen’ AS DEFINED BY THE FRAMERS’ INTENT.

  • Ted,

    Let’s avoid the conspiracy theorizing.

    Discussion of usurpationg of the country in ALL CAPS on the internet always makes me feel like a black helicopter is going to land.

  • The birth certificate issue is a complete non-starter. Even if Obama had been born in Kenya, he would still be an American citizen because of his mother, just as John McCain is an American citizen even though he was born in the Panama Canal zone. This issue is fun to debate on the internet, but as a matter of law it is quite clear that Obama is an American citizen no matter where he was born.

  • AS DEFINED BY THE FRAMERS’ INTENT

    Article II states:
    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

    The framer’s intent? “Naturalization Act of 1790” signed by George Washington himself:
    And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens.

    In any event, I concur with DC.

  • Of course none of this would be an issue had Sen. Gregg not first accepted before withdrawing. Further evidence that our Party is a mess and we should all probably realize the Obama always seems to be right on every issue.

    [Ed.- I just caught this. Obama-Can is spoofing DarwinCatholic, I changed the name from DarwinCatholic to Obama-Can. If this happens a third time Obama-Can will be put on moderation and possibly banned]

  • I have to agree with Darwin—Sen Gregg made a mess of this whole situation. Go Obama!

    [Ed.- I just caught this. Obama-Can is spoofing Matt McDonald, I changed the name from Matt McDonald to Obama-Can. If this happens a third time Obama-Can will be put on moderation and possibly banned]

  • [Ed.- I just caught this. Obama-Can is spoofing Matt McDonald, I changed the name from Matt McDonald to Obama-Can. If this happens a third time Obama-Can will be put on moderation and possibly banned]

    An Obama supporter behaving so badly? Hard to believe… maybe they can get him confirmed for a cabinet level position…

  • Obama-Can, using foolish “false flag” tactics is hardly the way to engender support for Obama.

  • You would think the troll would notice that there’s a unique identifying avatar next to each person’s name. But, then again, assuming intelligence amongst trolls is folly.

  • Mr. Zummo-
    I think I’d be able to spoof the icons, actually…. My guess is that our host checked the IP address. ^.^

    Side note about the Obama birth thing: most of the reasonable folks I know point out that at the time, a parent had to have lived in the country for, I think, 4 years after age 18, which his mother hadn’t been alive long enough to do. Also, that he might get citizenship from his birth father, and may have claimed it at some point, all of which would make a huge mess in the courts that still should be straightened out.

    Myself, I want to know what embarrassing thing is on the certificate– only reason I can think not to offer a basic, certified original copy.

  • Foxfier,

    Side note about the Obama birth thing: most of the reasonable folks I know point out that at the time, a parent had to have lived in the country for, I think, 4 years after age 18, which his mother hadn’t been alive long enough to do.

    Yes, but the congress changed this law and made the change retroactive to cover that theoretical situation. There are only two types of citizenship one is by birth – natural born, the other is naturalized, he was by virtue of his birth a citizen, not by naturalization.

    Also, that he might get citizenship from his birth father, and may have claimed it at some point, all of which would make a huge mess in the courts that still should be straightened out.

    Not at all, even if he did have dual citizenship it is not a abandonment of his US citizenship.

    Myself, I want to know what embarrassing thing is on the certificate– only reason I can think not to offer a basic, certified original copy.

    I agree.

  • Mr. McDonald-
    Claiming the citizenship of another country usually does involve abandoning US citizenship, though– since most countries aren’t as casual about the whole dual-citizenship thing, and there’s some stuff about Obama having traveled on non-US passports.
    I think I’m dragging this off topic, though. ^.^

    I can’t help but look at McCain, who responded to the challenge to his citizenship pretty dang quickly, and compare it to the piss-poor response from Obama’s team.

    Take a step back, though, and it’s very good kabuki– Obama’s team gets to show how horribly prosecuted they are by those nutters and any valid objections can be shouted down.
    “See, we offered a certificate of birth!” “See, we offered him a position!”
    ignoring
    “But that version just says you were born to or adopted by a resident of the state!” “But you first stripped the position of power!”

    I have to fall back on my wish that a young Mr. Obama had gone to Hollywood instead of Chicago. -.-

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