REAPING WHAT ONE SOWS ON THE CENSUS…. Prominent right-wing voices decided last year that the U.S. census was not to be trusted. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said the process could lead to “internment camps.” Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) called the census “invasive.” Fox News’ Glenn Beck’s suggested Americans may not be comfortable with “ACORN members” collecting information. Radio host Neal Boortz said some census information is “designed to help the government steal from you in order to pass off your property to the moochers.”

No one should be surprised, then, that the spread of right-wing paranoia over the census is having an effect. (via Daily Kos)

Contrary to historical trends, some of the toughest challenges facing the agency responsible for measuring the nation’s population are not from counting the traditionally undercounted groups such as African-Americans and Latinos. Instead, a new and growing threat to an accurate national head count is coming from anti-government conservatives who may not fill out their forms to protest against “Big Brother” in Washington.

The Houston Chronicle‘s report looks specifically at Texas, which is counting on the census to gain additional House seats, electoral votes, and federal funding relating to transportation, agriculture, health, education, and housing

But some anti-government types are shooting themselves in the foot.

The national average on the return rate for census forms is 34%. In much of Texas, the more Republican the area, the lower the return rate. In Briscoe County in the Panhandle, McCain/Palin won nearly 75% of the vote — and 8% of locals are sending in their census materials. In King County, near Lubbock, McCain/Palin won nearly 93% of the vote — and only 5% of locals are answering the census.

They apparently have no idea that they’re acting against their own interests.

Last July, some very conservative Republican House members urged Bachmann, in particular, to back off the anti-census crusade, calling the efforts “illogical.”

It seems at least some parts of the Republican base haven’t gotten the message.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.