Thursday, March 1, 2012

Grover Norquist: The Right’s Political Extortionist

By Sunnyjane

America has been punked.   Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, moderate Republicans, and even the far-leaning right-wingers of questionable intellect, have been watching the wacky spectacle that is commonly referred to as the GOP Nomination Process for Election 2012.  We have suffered through far too many debates, witnessed the unpredictable and sometimes astonishing outcome of votes in nine primaries, and read millions of words on the potential candidates’ shortcomings, gaffes, anti-American policy proposals, hypocrisies, and their primeval viewpoints on everything from religion to women’s rights to global warming.

All of this we have endured just to witness who will finally emerge as the leader of the Teabagger-hijacked Republican Party.  Well, dear readers, the truth has been revealed: the GOP has absolutely no intention of electing some freakin’ leader

The Gospel According to Grover 

All we have to do is replace Obama.  We are not auditioning for fearless leader, Norquist  told attendees at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference.  We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it.  The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate. 

And in the same speech, he pretty well shrugged off concern about who the GOP’s presidential candidate would be in November, saying: Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States.

The Kochs, the American Legislative Exchange Council (fondly referred to as ALEC) and Norquist are bonded by an anti-middle American zealotry.  ALEC's  far right on-demand legislative proposals have all the uniqueness of fast-food menus across the nation: they are stamped out on a conveyor belt with the same uniformity, precision, and toxicity as the beef patties on your Double Whopper.

Translation: The Kochs and Grover Norquist tell ALEC to craft a protect-the-rich bill they want introduced in the House; ALEC happily complies and hands it off to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor; Cantor brings the bill up for vote and the Tea Party Congress and (they anticipate for 2013) Senate pass said bill with little or no opposition and a puppet president with enough working fingers signs it.  Viola!

The Ascent of a Bespectacled Little Bully

The nation has Ronald Reagan to thank for Grover Norquist’s meteoric climb up Washington’s power ladder to become the maharishi of the anti-tax cult.

Norquist cut his far-right conservative teeth as an economist and speechwriter at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – that powerful organization that only supports committed conservatives and spends more money on lobbying than any other organization in the U.S. – before being selected by President Ronald Reagan to set up Americans for Tax Reform in 1985 to lobby in favor of overhauling the tax code.   That Reaganomics cut some taxes and  ultimately raised taxes eleven times led Norquist to initiate the current Taxpayer Protection Pledge to ensure that such a thing would never happen again. 

But “never happen again” did, indeed, happen again.  In 1988, Reagan’s vice president, George Herbert Walker Bush, campaigned for president on a promise of Read My Lips – No New Taxes.  In 1990, Bush raised existing taxes as a way to reduce the deficit, which Norquist unwaveringly believes is why Bush lost a second term in 1992 to a “nobody from Arkansas,” William Jefferson Clinton, during whose presidency Norquist helped Newt Gingrich craft the Contract With America.

During George W. Bush’s reign of authoritarian rule two terms in office, Norquist was instrumental in crafting the notorious "tax cuts for the One Percent" and, at the same time, tightening the screws on his tax pledge.   He was going to make sure that no elected official ever dared to raise taxes again, including a president.

And of course, there’s the debt-ceiling issue during President Barack Obama’s first term.  Many economists and politicians alike blame Eric Cantor’s so-called “leadership” in the House by enforcing Norquist’s anti-tax pledge as being directly responsible for the 2011 debt-ceiling fiasco that ruined America’s credit rating by leading the nation to the brink of default.  Paul O'Neill, George W. Bush's former Treasury secretary had this to say on Norquist's anti-tax stand: Congress was willing to cause severe economic damage to the entire population, simply because they were slaves to an idiot's idea of how the world works.

The Shake Down

With the single-minded resolve of a heat-seeking missile, Norquist zooms in on a conservative candidate running for local, state or federal office as soon as the name pops up on his far-right radar screen.   And the message he delivers is not subtle:  Sign the Tax Pledge or face primary challenges from candidates I endorse who will sign it.  Currently, 238 House members and 41 Senators have taken the pledge, as well as 13 state governors and 1,249 state legislators.   These are the cold and timid souls who have sworn fealty to Grover Norquist rather than to their constituents and the United States of America, and are seemingly unencumbered by their prescribed Oaths of Office.

Washington is broken
Lest there be any question about whether John Boehner, Speaker of the House, is chanting out of the same Sacred Tax Tome as Norquist, it can be put to rest. Oh sure, there was some speculation during the debt-ceiling battle that Boehner might cave and actually work with the President on a “grand bargain” to raise the limit.  But in July 2011, Chuck Todd of MSNBC asked Norquist if he was worried about such a scenario and Norquist responded, No.  Speaker Boehner has taken the pledge and always kept it.  As a congressman, he leads a caucus in the House of Representatives where all but six Republicans have made the commitment in writing to never raise taxes. He knows he leads a Republican Party that’s not going to raise taxes, and that he personally is committed to that as well.

So it was rather, shall we say, disingenuous on the Speaker’s part when, in November 2011, he pretended not to know anything about Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pressures on the Congress, saying, It’s not often I’m asked about some random person in America.   


We should all remember this is Norquist's vision of a perfect American:

My ideal citizen is the self-employed, home-schooling, Individual Retirement Account-owning guy with a concealed-carry permit.  Because that person doesn’t need the goddamn government for anything.

No comments:

Post a Comment