Who is John Galt? The opening line of the Grand Old Party’s quasi-manifesto from Ayn Rand can be bastardized to apply to modern politics. Who is Grover Norquist? The answer is needed now more than ever as his agenda directly conflicts with what the American public has openly voiced.
To begin, Norquist is a private citizen, a conservative lobbyist, founder of the group Americans for Tax Reform and the author of the Taxpayer’s Protection Pledge. The pledge has gained infamy for its startling intransigence; anyone who takes the pledge opposes any tax increase of any kind ever again.
Of course, the pledge is counterintuitive. The American public at large recognizes that in order to solve our rapidly rising national debt, we need to cut public spending while increasing taxes.
Obviously the degree to which one increases taxes and cuts public spending can be debated, but to completely disregard the former is foolhardy at best.
It would be one thing if Norquist’s idiocy was his own, but it’s
not. He has chosen to share it like the black plague. Happily, individuals within the Republican Party are curing themselves slowly but surely.
Returning to his notorious pledge, CNN reported Dec. 3 on the 113th Congress (the one that will begin in January), of which 219 of 234 of the Republicans in the House of Representatives and 9 of 41 Republican Senators have signed Norquist’s pledge.
From a purely tactical standpoint, one would think the Republicans would abandon Norquist and his economic advice. If the 2012 elections proved anything, it is that the American public largely does not agree with Norquist and his congressional lackeys.
Contrary to allegations that Barack Obama won the presidency due to shifting demographics, the ballooning influence of Latino and African-American voters, Reuters put the point simply Nov. 26,
“Obama didn’t win just because of demographics: He won on the economy. He won because the electorate understood that a vote for Obama was a vote for policies that would help the middle class and the working poor.”
Despite this fact, Norquist is holding fast to his pledge and his additional belief that anyone who makes the vow is bound to the vow for life.
Newsday reported Nov. 27 that Norquist responded with disgust when Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., reneged on the pledge, likening the disloyalty to the pledge to breaking his marriage vows.
The point is clear, if the GOP hopes to stay grand, or even relevant, it must abandon its incomprehensible infatuation with Norquist. An inability to do so will be a detriment to Republicans even more as the economic picture becomes more grim.
Thankfully, individual Republicans like Congressman King, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., have already begun vocal dissent against the ostensible saint of the anti-tax church. Let us just hope dissent becomes more widespread.
After all, Norquist isn’t just hurting the Republicans. The previously cited CNN article credits the charlatan for much of the gridlock in Washington and the conflation of the terms “compromise” and “acquiescence.”
As the fiscal cliff looms and the need to develop long term economic plans grows more pressing, we can see Norquist and the style of politics he represents need to be relegated to irrelevancy.
Ayn Rand asked, “Who is John Galt?” Hopefully, nothing like Grover Norquist.
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