Republican lobbyist Grover Norquist hasn’t been shy about making it abundantly clear just who pulls the Republican Party’s strings on taxes. He’s been exerting his influence behind the scenes from the beginning of the Super Committee process, keeping his reins tight on Republicans and preventing them from forging the balanced deficit reduction the American people are looking for. Now, he’s emerging from the shadows to take a victory lap – and remind everyone who’s really in charge.
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Grover Norquist, The Man Who Really Runs the GOP HERE
DECLARING VICTORY: WITH THE SUPER COMMITTEE DECLARING AN IMPASSE, NORQUIST IS TOUTING HIS TREMENDOUS POWER OVER REPUBLICANS ON TAXES
November 20: As The Super Committee Nears Impasse, Norquist Is Bragging About His Influence Over The Republican Stance On Taxes. “Grover Norquist has collected pledges from many Republicans that they will not vote for a hike of any kind. In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s ‘60 Minutes,’ the head of the Americans for Tax Reform makes it clear he’s proud of his role firing up anti-tax fervor in Washington. ‘The Republicans won’t raise your taxes. We haven’t had a Republican vote for an income tax increase since 1990,’ he told Steve Kroft. When asked by Kroft if that were his doing, Norquist said, ‘I helped. Yeah’ … Norquist reiterated that he wants to starve the beast, reducing tax revenue so that the size of the federal government shrinks. ‘I intend to win. I intend to be part of the whole effort to crush the other team,’ Norquist said.” [Politico, 11/21/11]
Wall Street Journal: “Thank You, Grover Norquist.” [11/22/11]
WHEN SUPER COMMITTEE MEMBER JON KYL LOOKED LIKE HE MIGHT BE OPEN TO DEFYING THE PLEDGE AND INCLUDING SOME REVENUES, NORQUIST “YANKED” THE “WANDERING LEADER BACK INTO LINE.”
November 11: Politico: Norquist “Yanked” Senator Kyl “Back Into Line” When It Looked Like He Might Go Against His Pledge. “Sometimes, he said, he has to yank a wandering leader back into line, as he said he did with Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) in May. Kyl publicly ruled out raising tax rates to bring in revenue, which was interpreted by some observers as leaving the door open to a variety of tax increases that wouldn’t involve rate changes. ‘So, I call Kyl. ‘What did you say? What did you mean? How can we work together on this?’ Norquist said, adopting the tone of a teacher scolding a second grader as he recalled the conversation. ‘Yes, I said rates,’ Kyl said, as Norquist recalled. ‘And then,’ Norquist said, ‘he went down on the floor, and he gave a colloquy about how we’re against any tax increases of any sort. Boom!’” [Politico, 11/9/11]
WHEN REPUBLICANS ON THE SUPER COMMITTEE PRETENDED TO PUT REVNUES ON THE TABLE, NORQUIST MADE SURE EVERYONE KNEW IT WAS JUST “A UNICORN,” “NOT WRITTEN DOWN,” “A NEGOTIATING POSITION” – AND THAT HE WOULD NEVER LET IT ACTUALLY GO ANYWHERE
November 15: Norquist Said Republican Revenue Offer Was Just “A Negotiating Position … They’re Not Going To Be Passing Any Tax Increases” “It’s not written down. It’s a negotiating position. It won’t pass the House or the Senate. I’ve talked to the House leadership and the Senate leadership. They’re not going to be passing any tax increases.” [The Hill, 11/15/11]
November 16: Norquist Made It Clear That If Democrats DID Accept Toomey’s Phony Offer, He’d Pressure Them To Renege. “In an interview, Norquist said that Republicans have no intention of raising taxes, and that their decision to show ‘a little ankle’ on taxes in their latest offer was merely a ploy to prove that Democrats would not endorse structural changes to Medicare and Medicaid. Norquist acknowledged that the GOP tax plan is ‘problematic,’ however, and said he would have pushed Republicans to rescind the offer if Democrats had accepted it.” [Washington Post, 11/16/11 (emphasis added)]
November 18: Norquist Absolved Toomey For Including Otherwise “Poisonous” Revenue Increases In His Phony Proposal; “As A Negotiating Position … It Was Not Treason.” “Norquist’s group, Americans for Tax Reform, is responsible for the anti-tax pledge signed by nearly every Republican in Congress. But while he panned the tax hikes in the Toomey plan, Norquist viewed the blueprint merely as a ‘negotiating position’ to lure Democrats closer to real tax reform. ‘If it was the final bill, it would be poison for taxpayers, tea party supporters and Republicans,’ Norquist said in an email. ‘As a negotiating position to bring Democrats toward tax reform, it was not treason.’” [Politico, 11/18/11]
NOT CONTENT TO SIMPLY DECLARE VICTORY, NORQUIST WAS SURE TO REMIND REPUBLICANS WHY THEY’RE ALL TOO SCARED TO DEFY HIM
November 20: Norquist Said He Works To Encourage Republicans Who Vote For Tax Increases “To Go Into Another Line of Work,” Called Them “Rat Heads In A Coke Bottle.”
NORQUIST: Republicans who vote for a tax increase are rat heads in a Coke bottle. They damage the brand for everyone else […]
KROFT: You make it pretty clear. If someone breaks the pledge, you’re gonna do everything you can to get rid of them.
NORQUIST: To educate the voters that they raise taxes. And again, we educate people–
KROFT: To get rid of them.
NORQUIST: To encourage them to go into another line of work, like shoplifting or bank robbing, where they have to do their own stealing. [CBS, 11/20/11]
November 21: Norquist Reiterated His Threat To “Go After” Republicans Who Broke His Pledge.
QUESTION: “But you go after these elected officials with all the money because there is a lot of very powerful people who donate to your cause. You go after these elected officials and you make sure they are not elected again. You do.”
NORQUIST: “Well, If somebody takes the pledge not to raise taxes and were to break it, we would certainly inform voters what they have done.” [CNN, 11/21/11]
IN THE END, IT’S CLEAR THE FIX WAS IN FROM THE BEGINNING, SINCE ALL 6 GOP MEMBERS SIGNED HIS PLEDGE
August 11: Norquist Blessed GOP Appointees To Super Committee, Saying They Were All “Taxpayer Friendly” And Had Signed His Pledge. “All the Republican appointees are ‘taxpayer friendly,’ said anti-tax activist Grover Norquist. They’ve all signed his pledge not to raise taxes — which was a key obstacle in the various failed plans to raise the debt ceiling.” [USA Today, 8/11/11]