Democrats have a survey too — they just don't call it a Census

In the interest of fair-and-balanced commentary in this space, we want to report receipt of an Official Document from the Democrats. This one, unlike that decidedly suspect missile from the Republicans last week, does not advertise itself as an Official Census Document and does not raise the fear level to code red. It advertises itself as a 2010 Priority Issues Survey, which, in fact, it is.

The envelope, though, does bear the admonition: Do Not Tamper. We wonder who’s been tampering with Democratic issues, other than the hapless invaders of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu’s office. We’re not even sure how one can Tamper with an Official Document.

Nevertheless. Because the Democratic Party Headquarters bothered to send a fairly straightforward questionnaire, with a minimum of weighted sentences, below are listed a few considered responses to this “opportunity to help shape Democratic priorities and build a brighter future for America.” You are invited to send your own answers to www.dccc.org, even if you lack an Official Survey Registration number, and we’ll see who’s paying attention. One citizen’s response:

Yes, I believe waterboarding is torture and the U.S. has a moral responsibility to not engage in or condone any form of torture.

Yes, every American should be guaranteed access to affordable, quality health care.

No, I don’t support privatization of Social Security, but Yes, the Medicare prescription benefit plan should be reformed so the government can negotiate lower drug prices with big pharmaceutical companies. (Good luck with that, government.)

Yes, the federal government would do well to provide more assistance to Americans who want to continue their education beyond high school. Cutting student loan interest rates, increasing college tuition tax deductions, increasing Pell grants – all sound good to me.

Weighted question next: How concerned are you about the environmental damage resulting from last-minute Bush Administration maneuvers to weaken laws like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act. Well, since I happen to agree, pretty darned concerned.

Slightly different phraseology question: How serious a threat is global warming? Thanks for not asking, as the Republicans did, if I believe it’s real. I’ll go with Very Serious.

That’s about it for the Democrats. They do also provide a postage-paid envelope, and they also invite your contribution.

If the Independents have an Official Survey going, it will be duly reported in this space.

The Republican Faux Census

We are in receipt of the 2010 Congressional District Census, Official Document, Process Immediately, Census Document Registered To: (I will never tell.) In slightly smaller, definitely not-bold print: Commissioned by the Republican Party.

This household is not known for being a bastion of Republican conservatism. It does, however, harbor one member known in some circles for contrarianism — for want of a better word. That member has duly completed the Census Document, with a few terse asides here and there and one or two spots left blank. It may skew the results a little, if anyone pays these things any mind.

In case your Census Document has not arrived, here are the basic facts as reported by The Associated Press:

“Strengthening our Party for the 2010 elections is going to take a massive grass-roots effort all across America. That is why I have authorized a Census to be conducted of every Congressional District in the country,” GOP Chairman Michael Steele says in a letter mailed nationwide.

The letter was sent in plain white envelopes marked “Do Not Destroy, Official Document.” Labeled “2010 Congressional District Census,” the letter uses a capital “C,” the same as the Census Bureau. It also includes a “Census Tracking Code.”

The letter makes a plea for money and accompanies a form asking voters to identify their political leanings and issues important to them. There are no disclaimers that participation in the GOP effort is voluntary; participation in the government census is required by law. Failure to participate carries a $5,000 fine, though it is rarely enforced.

Participation in this particular Official Census Document can be tricky. One can get past the name, age, party registration information in a straightforward manner… but then come the serious issues. Nicely phrased serious issues:

How much does it concern you that the Democrats have total control of the federal government? Control? Who’s in control? One is tempted to have No Opinion.

How confident are you that America’s economy will improve in the next six months? This may be an attempt to tap into the confidence factor rampant in the land, what with everyone feeling so hearty and upbeat.

As the Official Document progresses, through Political Profile to General Issues and on into Domestic  and Foreign Issues, it is possible to sense blood pressures rising all over the country:

Do you believe the huge costly Democrat-passed stimulus bill has been effective in creating jobs or stimulating America’s economy?

Do you think the record trillion-dollar federal deficit the Democrats are creating with their out-of-control spending is going to have disastrous consequences for our nation?

Are you concerned that as other countries like China buy up hundreds of billions of dollars of our national debt they will have more control in directing our nation’s future economic policies?

(Do you believe that global warming is an issue that must be dealt with immediately?)

Do you trust the Democrats to take all steps necessary to keep our nation secure in this age when terrorists could strike our country at any moment?

Do you worry that Russia is moving away from its relationship with the U.S. and trying to re-establish itself as a military and economic superpower?

You get the picture. If you were not terrified of terrorists — not to mention China, Russia and I left out the one about Obama’s dangerous, non-confrontational dealings with radical leaders in Iran, North Korea and other countries — and on the verge of panic about everything else before you opened the Census Document, you will surely be so by the time you get to the end.

Along the way, you are invited to express your opinion on school prayer, flag burning, abortion, same sex marriage, faith based initiatives and human cloning.

Send money. The envelope is postage paid.

Straight Talk Q&A on Health Reform

One of the best fact-checks re health reform I’ve seen lately was just sent out by Ricardo Alonso-Zalvidar for the Associated Press:

Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin says the health care overhaul bill would set up a “death panel.” Federal bureaucrats would play God, ruling on whether ailing seniors are worth enough to society to deserve life-sustaining medical care. Palin and other critics are wrong.

Nothing in the legislation would carry out such a bleak vision. The provision that has caused the uproar would instead authorize Medicare to pay doctors for counseling patients about end-of-life care, if the patient wishes. Here are some questions and answers on the controversy:

Q: Does the health care bill promote “mercy killing,” or euthanasia?

A: No.

Q: Then what’s all the fuss about?

And here’s where it all started:

A: A provision in the House bill written by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would allow Medicare to pay doctors for voluntary counseling sessions that address end-of-life issues. The conversations between doctor and patient would include living wills, making a close relative or a trusted friend your health care proxy, learning about hospice as an option for the terminally ill and information about pain medications for people suffering chronic discomfort.

The sessions would be covered every five years, more frequently if someone is gravely ill.

Alonso-Zaldivar covers all the basics in this brief, to-the-point article. My personal favorite opinion is also in there. It’s a comment made by Monsignor Charles Fahey, 76, a Catholic priest currently chairman of the board of the National Council on Aging:

“What I have said is that if I cannot say another prayer, if I cannot give or get another hug, and if I cannot have another martini – then let me go.”

Maybe we should put that martini provision in the bill.

via Health care overhaul bill Q&A.