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“”I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.
|—Grover Norquist, living in Norquistopia|
“”When you have a brand like Coca-Cola, and you find a rat head in the bottle, you create an outcry. Republicans who raise taxes are rat heads in Coke bottles. They endanger the brand.
|—Norquist describing some Republicans in Virginia who voted for a tax increase|
“”It does indicate that men who oppose federal spending at the local level are irresistible to women.
|—Norquist on Mark Sanford|
Grover Glenn Norquist (1956–) is a lobbyist, pundit, and political boss in the GOP who's basically the real-life version of Alex P. Keaton. His political philosophy can be boiled down to two words: tax cuts. For this reason, those with perpetual tax cut fetishes are often called "Norquistas," as his appetite for tax cuts is pretty legendary.
Norquist is classified as "socially liberal" due to his work with GOProud and other minority outreach groups, but he only pays lip-service to stuff like gay marriage in order to get more tax cuts. Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.
The tax cut blood oath
“”The entire federal government is paralyzed because of a document written by a 12-year-old in 1968.
|—The Daily Show's Samantha Bee on Norquist|
Norquist is the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform (read: Americans for Tax Cuts). The organization has gotten thousands of political officeholders at the state and federal levels to sign its "Taxpayer Protection Pledge", which is an agreement to never, ever raise taxes, ever. The starve the beast strategy is pretty much synonymous with Norquist's name.
According to David Brock, Norquist keeps a picture of Lenin and quotes his advice, "Probe with bayonets, looking for weaknesses." It was a precept of the Nixon White House, for whom Norquist campaigned in the late 1960s. Norquist compares his efforts to take over the country via democratic means with a communist-style revolution.
To illustrate what he meant, Norquist drew three intersecting circles on a piece of paper. In the first one he wrote "guns," in the second he wrote "taxes," in the third he wrote "faith." There was a small area where the three circles intersected. "With that group, you can take over the country, if you start with the airports and the radio stations," he said. "But with all of the three circles that’s sixty per cent of the population, and you can win politically. And if you add more things, like property rights and home-schooling, you can do even better.”
Norquist has never held an elected office. Why would anyone sign his ridiculous pledge? Because the right is authoritarian, that's why. They like "promises" and "pledges" and whatnot. Pledge of Allegiance, virginity pledges, oaths to the Constitution, etc. It's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. He's powerful because he's powerful. His "pledge", which has been going on for 20 years, sinks his hooks into Republicans at the state level, so if anyone breaks it now, it's easy to detonate it in a future primary. (He swore up and down not to raise your taxes, and look what he did! He breaks promises!) It was stupid of Republicans to ever limit their options like that in the first place.
“”NORQUIST: That's the morality of the Holocaust. "Well, it's only a small percentage," you know. "I mean, it's not you, it's somebody else." […]
TERRY GROSS: Excuse me. Excuse me one second. Did you just —
TERRY GROSS: — compare the estate tax with the Holocaust?NORQUIST: No, the morality that says it's OK to do something to do [sic] a group because they're a small percentage of the population is the morality that says that the Holocaust is OK because they didn't target everybody, just a small percentage. What are you worried about? It's not you. It's not you. It's them. And arguing that it's OK to loot some group because it's them, or kill some group because it's them and because it's a small number, that has no place in a democratic society that treats people equally.
Praise Be to Saint Ronnie
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Norquist has a gigantic man-crush on Ronald Reagan, though he takes it a bit further than others. He is currently the leader of the Reagan Legacy Project, an organization created for the sole explicit purpose of naming stuff after Reagan to trick people into thinking that he was a worthwhile leader (read: god among men). Parks, roads, post offices, Washington’s National Airport, and many other landmarks have been named after Reagan under this Project. Norquist has tried to make Reagan’s birthday a national holiday and has floated the idea of having Ronnie’s head replace that of Theodore Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore. Norquist has gone on record deriding Roosevelt as a “statist and progressive Republican”; it would seem that, in Norquist’s eyes, doing something for the benefit of non-wealthy people is an unforgivable mortal sin (maybe with the slight exception of cutting taxes, but then again, he and his cronies will only benefit more).
Norquist was involved with weapon sales to the Contras during the Iran-Contra affair and helped Jack Abramoff launder some money. However, these were small bumps in the road compared to the scandal involving Mr. Norquist and his liaisons (wink wink) with several taxes, including an estate tax.
Wingnuts eat their own
Norquist has been the target of criticism from wingnuts due to his efforts at minority outreach. He helped co-found the "Islamic Free Market Institute" and has a Palestinian wife, so he obviously has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood (if you're professional lunatic Frank Gaffney)! This doesn't help Norquist with certain foreign and American groups who have a vested financial interest in spreading the patent fiction that America is rapidly coming under the sway of sharia. Gaffney's voice was joined by a chorus of the usual GOP whack-jobs, like Bachmann, Horowitz, Gohmert, and Beck, all of whom are insistent that Grover Norquist and former GWB administration official Suhail Kahn are both surreptitiously appointing the Muslim Brotherhood to important posts within government agencies.
It should come as no surprise that Norquist supports the right-wing's favorite pseudosciences. Americans for Tax Reform has been spewing global warming and DDT denial for quite some time. It is also part of the Cooler Heads Coalition. Norquist has also voiced support for Intelligent Design. As to whether it should be taught in schools, however, he doesn't really care because public schools are the work of the government (read: Satan):
“”The real problem here is that you shouldn't have government-run schools … Given that we have to spend all our time crushing the capital gains tax I don't have much time for this issue.
- Cassidy, John, "The Ringleader", New Yorker 8.1.05.
- Conservatives Write Off Sanford as a National Leader, Washington Independent
- Doug Mataconis, "Grover Norquist Joins Gay Conservative Group GOProud", Outside the Beltway.
- Franklin Foer, "Grover Norquist's strange alliance with radical Islam", New Republic.
- Bety Woodruff, "Glenn Beck Thinks Grover Norquist Is a Muslim Brotherhood Mole. Now, the NRA Is 'Investigating'", Slate.
- Grover Norquist's Taxpayer's Protection Pledge
- "What is the Taxpayer Protection Pledge?"
- NNDB profile
- Grover Norquist: Field Marshal of the Bush Plan, The Nation
- Washington Tax Cut Advocate Aided Abramoff, Associated Press
- Scandalous Photos Reveal Grover Norquist Carried On Secret Affair With Taxes For Years, The Onion
- Frank Gaffney Braves Muslim Brotherhood Infiltration To Warn CPAC About Grover Norquist, Think Progress
- Fitzpatrick, Brian, "Now look who else is infiltrating CPAC", WND (01/04/2011 at 8:00 PM). Here's what Gaffney told Brian Fitzpatrick of World Net Daily about the ongoing Islamic infiltration of America.
- Tashman, Brian, "David Horowitz Says Huma Abedin is 'Worse than Alger Hiss' and Grover Norquist is a 'Practicing Muslim' Subverting the GOP", Right Wing Watch (Monday, 10/1/2012 12:50 pm). Former-1960's lefty and Israeli lobbyist, David Horowitz, is another neoconservative goon pushing the same nonsense about Norquist and Anthony Weiner's Muslim wife.
- Blumenthal, Max, "The Great Islamophobic Crusade". Here's a fairly comprehensive article by Max Blumenthal detailing some of the people behind this whole charade.
- See, for instance, their "coverage" of Climategate
- Conservatives on Evolution