Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist has turned the country into his own personal kingdom, demanding a loyalty oath from elected officials that supersedes any oath of office they take. And frighteningly, the Republican Party and the rest of the country just let him take that power.
But don't expect him to be honest with us about his power.
All of the Republican presidential candidates, with the exception of Utah Jon Huntsman, have committed, in writing, to the American people, not to me, to the American people, that they won't raise taxes. What they say is, "I'm going to go to Washington. You know what I'm not going to do? I'm not going to raise your taxes. I'm going to fix the mess." It's the Democrats whose position is that the only problem in Washington, D.C., is the peasants aren't sending enough cash in for the king to spend.
It's hard to be more disingenuous than Grover Norquist. This pledge isn't to the American people--the American people by and large want taxes raised on the wealthy to bring their rates back up to Clinton--not Eisenhower--levels. So any pledge is to King Grover is just that, not to the American people. So Norquist can shove that "Democrats want the peasants to send more cash for the king to spend" from whence it came.
And if it wasn't David Gregory, who has never met a Republican meme he didn't love, a competent journalist would point out to Norquist that it's been Republican administrations that have increased government spending, time and again.
But hey, let's look at system failing 99% of Americans and simply think that lower taxes will cure all. It's worked so well for the last ten years, hasn't it?
Transcripts below the fold
MR. GREGORY: As for the supercommittee failure...
MR. NORQUIST: Mm-hmm.
MR. GREGORY: ...Republicans did propose some revenue increases, and yet you said publicly you were assured by the leaders of Congress there would never be anything to pass with a tax increase. Was that a sham proposal?
MR. NORQUIST: No. I--several things. One, I think it was put on the table, and it did one thing. It made it clear that the Democrats had no interest in tax reform because they put it in one night, two senators said this is intriguing. The next morning they came back and said no to tax reform, no to reducing rates. And then they also said no to any deal that didn't have at least $1 trillion of tax increases. So the Dem--people say the Republicans said "Don't raise taxes." Correct. Two hundred and thirty-six Republicans in the House have signed a commitment to the American people, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, that they would not vote for a tax increase as long as they're a member of Congress, and 41 senators have made the same commitment. Those are important commitments. Those are public commitments. But the Democrats have the secret agreement, which they've announced every once in awhile on TV, they want $1 trillion in tax increases. So who's being unreasonable? The guys who want $1 trillion more of your money to waste, or the people who say, "We're spending too much of your money now. Let's bring spending down to normal levels, not try and get to where Greece is."
MR. GREGORY: What makes you so sure that you will triumph by targeting politicians who raise taxes, by going to the voters and pointing out that they've done that? What if the next Republican president comes along, like Reagan, and says, "Grover, sorry, times have changed. I'm going with a different approach. I'm throwing away your pledge, and we're moving forward." You still think you'll prevail?
MR. NORQUIST: Look, I don't think a Republican would be likely to win the presidential election in the general if it wasn't clear that he wanted to go in a different direction than Obama. If you want to raise taxes to pay for Obama's bigger government, then you vote for the Democrats, for crying out loud. If you think we should bring the size of government down to what America can afford, then you would vote for the Republican. All of the Republican presidential candidates, with the exception of Utah Jon Huntsman, have committed, in writing, to the American people, not to me, to the American people, that they won't raise taxes. What they say is, "I'm going to go to Washington. You know what I'm not going to do? I'm not going to raise your taxes. I'm going to fix the mess." It's the Democrats whose position is that the only problem in Washington, D.C., is the peasants aren't sending enough cash in for the king to spend.
MR. GREGORY: And if a Republican raises taxes after taking the pledge, as president of the United States...
MR. NORQUIST: Mm-hmm.
MR. GREGORY: ...iron clad, one term president in your view?
MR. NORQUIST: Well, we have some history here. George Herbert Walker Bush had a very successful presidency. He managed the collapse of the Soviet Union, he threw Iraq out of Kuwait, didn't get stuck occupying the place for a decade. He had one small hole in the bottom of his boat. He said he wouldn't raise taxes and he did, and he lost the presidency. The American people don't like people who lie their way into office. They do like people who keep their commitments and say, "I'm not going to raise your taxes because you're not the problem, America. We're going to reform Washington's overspending. That's the problem."