George H.W. Bush: "Who The Hell Is Grover Norquist?"


Joining a growing chorus of Republicans, Poppy apparently doesn't think much of Grover Norquist.

During your presidency you gave in on your "no new taxes" pledge. You've been vindicated in many respects for that decision. I wonder how you view the "no new tax" pledge from Grover Norquist that seems to be requisite for GOP political candidates.

GB: The rigidity of those pledges is something I don't like. The circumstances change and you can't be wedded to some formula by Grover Norquist. It's—who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?

This is who he is.

As head of Americans for Tax Reform since 1986, Grover Norquist has transformed a single issue - preventing tax hikes - into one of the key platforms of the Republican Party. As Steve Kroft reports, his biggest coup was getting more than 270 members of Congress, and nearly all of the 2012 Republican presidential primary candidates, to sign a pledge promising never to vote to raise taxes.

Poppy's certainly got no love for the anti-tax zealots in his own party, since they arguably cost him the 1992 election. But with taxes at historic lows and a strong national consensus that rich people need to pay more, it's a safe bet that Norquist's most powerful days are behind him.


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