Meet Grover Norquist…The Man Holding America Hostage!

| November 22, 2011 | 0 Comments
Grover Norquist Tax Pledge

Grover Norquist


Author: Sylvia Burley

If you want to know why Republicans are refusing to budge on the “no new taxes” mantra, look no further than the Grover Norquist tax pledge.

Norquist is a conservative activist and President of Americans for Tax Reform, an advocacy and tax payer group whose stated goal is “a system in which taxes are simpler, flatter, more visible, and lower than they are today”.  They also state that “the government’s power to control one’s life derives from its power to tax.  We believe that power should be minimized.”

Americans for Tax Reform is best known for its “Taxpayer Protection Pledge”, which asks candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases…forever and ever…regardless of the current economic climate.

This pledge is the reason Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, as well as the recent congressional “super-committee”, have not been able to come together to do what’s best in addressing this country’s debt crisis.  In addition, seventy-one members of the House have signed a letter to the committee demanding that the deficit be cut without any tax increases despite the fact that the only way to successfully address the current deficit is through spending cuts AND revenue generation (aka tax increases).

According to an Op-ed piece in The New York Times, He (Norquist) has repeatedly told Republicans they will risk his wrath if they agree to any new tax revenue to lower the deficit, and that threat, according to several members of Congress, has been one of the main forces preventing any real progress on the panel.”  This hardly seems fair when Democrats have been willing to risk their political capital by offering up cuts on programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Sen. John Kerry(D-MA) said on MSNBC, “I have demonstrations outside my office.  I’ve had rallies.  I’ve had (an) unbelievable amount of pushback because we were ready and prepared to put on the table some of those so-called sacred cows.”  Republicans, he said, refused to consider cancellation of the tax cuts for the wealthy.

How are Republicans able to negotiate in good faith?  The answer is they can’t because Republicans are, in effect, being held hostage by Norquist and have been for years now.  Any Republican who refuses to sign and adhere  to the pledge will find themselves running against a well-funded Norquist candidate, even if they signed it 18 years ago when the country was a much different place.

A recent 60 Minutes episode that aired on November 20, 2011 claimed that “Norquist has been responsible, more than anyone else, for rewriting the dogma of the Republican Party”. This rings true seeing that he was on the Republican Platform Committees in 1998, 1992 and 1996, helping his party swing even more to the right; helped draft the Contract with America, which helped the Republicans take over the House; helped secure early support for George W. Bush’s presidential bid, and campaigned in 2000 and 2004 to help him win the White House” (and we all know how badly George W. Bush in the White House turned out…unnecessary war…millions of lives lost here and abroad…unpaid for tax cuts and programs….all resulting in trillions of dollars being spent which Republicans always seem to conveniently forget when talking about the current debt).

There are one or two courageous Republicans.  Kevin Yoder (R-KS), a fiscal conservative, has never signed Norquist’s pledge.  “My responsibility lies to my constituents,” said Yoder adding, “I can’t forsee every scenario”.

During the interview, Norquist also stated that he came up with the idea to “brand” the Republican Party as the “no new tax” party when he was 12 years old, so basically we are ALL being held hostage because of the bright idea of a prepubescent teen.

The good news is many Republicans now want to get out from under this man’s dogged control.  I just hope for this country’s sake, the majority of them find the courage to do so.


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About the Author ()

Sylvia Burley is a Freelance Writer and Integrated Marketing & Communications Consultant. She writes on various topics including marketing, politics, entertainment, current events, and living green. A native Detroiter, she is a graduate of Michigan State University and loves singing, foreign movies and rollercoasters. She currently resides in Atlanta because she doesn’t like the cold.

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