Grover Norquist told Andrea Mitchell yesterday on MSNBC that "No Republican voted for a tax increase" just a day after Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for a tax increase. Grover Norquist's life mission has been spent cultivating an image and consolidating power with a pledge: the pledge is to assure that Congress never, ever raises taxes.
Grover Norquist tweeted that "The Bush tax cuts lapsed at midnight last night. Every R voting for Senate bill is cutting taxes and keeping his/her pledge." Later, he explained to CNN's Cooper Anderson,“It’s technically not a violation of the pledge, but I understand why a lot of Republicans had said, look, even though what’s happening is the tax cuts disappear and we’re restoring them for most people — so we’re not raising taxes. We’re actually cutting taxes.”
Pressed by Anderson "You’re saying because the Bush tax cuts have expired yesterday. So, basically they expired yesterday, so technically these are still tax cuts (in the Senate bill)?”
“Correct,” Norquist said. “They need to be able to say with a straight face they fought to protect those tax cuts for everyone and all the Republicans in the House have done that more than once, and that they’re fighting to oppose any and all tax increases, period.”
So it goes with "irrelevant" Grover Norquist.
New York Republican Rep. Peter King recently found a Grover Norquist loophole. Rep. King signed the Norquist pledge years ago, but he told The New York Times recently, “A pledge is good at the time you sign it. In 1941, I would have voted to declare war on Japan. But each Congress is a new Congress. And I don’t think you can have a rule that you’re never going to raise taxes or that you’re never going to lower taxes. I don’t want to rule anything out.”
Just to be sure that King was understood in print, Peter King repeated nearly the same lines on NBC's Meet the Press to David Gregory last week.
Then Grover Norquist got into a high-profile dispute with Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia who said, “I’m frankly not concerned about the Norquist pledge.” To which Norquist replied "The Senator’s reference to me is odd. His promise is to the people of Georgia."
That has always been the threat by Norquist, to primary anyone who did not sign the pledge and by implication, anyone who breaks the pledge.
However, it appears the electorate is no longer interested in the issues for which Grover Norquist stands.
Senator John McCain of Arizona recently said, “Fewer and fewer people are signing this, quote, pledge.”
And Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina noted that closing tax loopholes and slashing deductions will have to be considered, “though that may technically violate the pledge.” He added, "Sign me up."
Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, the influential conservative publication added, “It won’t kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.”
There is no doubt a smart guy like Grover Norquist will re-invent himself, however, when it comes to tax policy, Grover Norquist is "irrelevant."
Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions, firstname.lastname@example.org.
John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books