Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Grover Norquist: Delusions of Oz

source: buzzfeed

The curtain is finally being pulled back on the little man named Grover Norquist. For years he has terrorized the Cowardly Lions and Tin Men of the Republican Right, warning that if they don't play his game his way and sign his absolutist "No Tax" pledge, the Tea Party money will dry up and they will not get re-elected.

But things are changing.

Jena McGregor on Washing Post writes:
Yet the leader who has the most to lose by the cracks in the Norquist pledge is not any representative who stands up against it and risks offending some voters, but the man who started it in the first place. Norquist’s power base, after all, has always been shaky. All it will take is a few powerful Republicans to actually break the pledge, and the wall will come tumbling down. The pledge’s strength—and Norquist’s power—lies in its universal acceptance among powerful Republicans. If that falls, so does Norquist.

Yes, once the Great and Powerful Oz is shown to be just a little man who doesn't do anything except yell "Boo!" unfortunately can't get anyone to drink his Emerald City Kool-Aid anymore.

Grover is in denial, like the rest of his tribe in the GOP, but he needs to realize that every day new Republicans are going to defect and mutiny from the Pledge not to Raise Taxes that Norquist strong-armed them into signing.

Today my Senator, Bob Corker R-TN, said he wasn't going to honor his tax pledge to Grover Norquist. Of course, I did NOT vote for Corker  - or even his Democratic opponent who was a Tea Partier in disguise - I voted for the Green candidate - but I do feel a sense of pride that a Tennessean is getting out of Grover's clutches ahead of the crowd. And I've said it before, but Corker is not as far-right-right as he pretends to be. He's just a business guy who was Mayor of Chattanooga, and actually had a pretty good reputation for working on all sorts of group projects here. He's a consensus guy, not a stonewaller, and even Norquist knows that (see interview below in which he calls Corker a "moderate"). But no Republican gets elected in TN without adhering to the Party Line, and in the past that has meant signing on with scum like Norquist. But everything is changing fast:

“I’m not obligated on the pledge,” Corker told CBS’s Charlie Rose on Monday morning. “I made Tennesseans aware, I was just elected, the only thing I’m honoring is the oath I take when I serve, when I’m sworn in this January.”

Good to know that, Bob. It would have been more courageous never to sign it in the first place, but I'm glad the scales have fallen from your eyes, or at least that Lindsey Graham has given you permission to follow him in standing up to Norquist in order to possibly save your party.

But Grover isn't going to go down that easily. In fact, he is calling out anyone who opposes him, including Bob Corker, making veiled threats towards some type of retaliation towards anyone who defies him, accusing them of "impure thoughts" as if he has delusions of god-hood as an omniscient deity. But hey - we always knew he felt that way.

He also says over and over that none of these guys opposing him would have been elected in their states without signing his pledge. Oh really? Some of these Republicans were basically running unopposed thanks to weak candidates from the Dems - TN for instance -  and Democrats and Independents also voted for them in most states. That Pledge doesn't matter to those people who aren't very political and just see Corker as the first name on the ballot.

Grover believes he is a kingmaker - and the Great and Powerful Oz - but it was never true. He just had the ability to spin the illusion of power in the form of money. But like the Koch fortune that was supposed to win the Presidency for Mitt Romney, it is turning out to be fool's gold.

You can see his attitude in the following interview from Fox News today (my transcript)

Neil Cavuto: Fairly or not, Grover, you've been seen as this "Wizard of Oz" character who has been able to keep Republicans in lock-step with your thinking, and with more bolting, especially with prominent members bolting, it says something about what is in peril for you.
. . . I don't want to liken you to Tony Soprano, but are you saying you're going to remember these guys who are turning on you?

Grover Norquist: Okay, nobody's turning on me. I understand why Harry Reid is trying to personalize it as "Grover" but what Harry Reid doesn't want to say is that the American People don't want their taxes raised. They've elected a Republican Congress opposed to raising taxes, and I, Harry Reid, am at odds with the American people.

Neil Cavuto: They are going to raise taxes, Grover. They are - they're looking like they are. So -- is that a repudiation of you? Or recognition of the election? Or what?

Grover Norquist: Okay, first of all, the promise on the pledge is to the American People. What I have accomplished with Americans for Tax Reform is to make it easy through the pledge for elected officials, candidates and incumbents, to credibly commit that they won't raise taxes.
Corker was elected to the Senate because he took the pledge. People had thought he was too moderate, maybe he wouldn't make it, but he made that written commitment to the people of Tennessee. He would not be a Senator today if he hadn't made that commitment. If he breaks it, he's going to have to have a conversation with the people from Tennessee about his . . . keeping his word. And the same thing about other people who were elected because they made that written commitment to the people of their state.

Neil Cavuto: That sounds like a threat.

Norquist: No -- look, I vote in Washington D.C. The people that Corker promised or (Saxby) Chambliss (R-GA) promised or (Lindsey) Graham (R-SC) promised are in their state. They haven't promised me anything. They promised the voters of their state that they would go to Washington and reform government, not raise taxes to pay for Obama's bigger government. They need to focus on reforming government, not raising taxes to pay for bigger government each year. And it's a lot of work - it's not easy! But throwing up your hands and saying 'Maybe I'll raise taxes' instead of governing is not the way to go.

By tonight, Grover was getting more rattled and had a hissy fit on Piers Morgan, attacking Peter King R-NY, and comparing breaking the Tax Pledge to breaking a Marriage Vow???  Hey, Stupid - your pledge isn't legally or spiritually binding. Get over yourself!!!!!!!!!

Story via Mediaite
During a rather tense interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan this evening, conservative activist Grover Norquist blasted the various prominent Republican lawmakers who have expressed a willingness to break his long-standing anti-tax pledge in the name of achieving a compromise to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” In particular, Norquist took a shot at Rep. Peter King (R-NY), accusing the congressman of trying to “weasel” out of a career-long commitment to the pledge.

. . . Norquist fired back with a pointed stab at King: “The pledge is not for life … [but] Peter King, who tried to weasel out of it, shame on him as the New York Sun said today. I hope his wife understands that commitments last a little longer than two years or something.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Morgan shouted. “Hang on. That was a bit below the belt, Grover.”

“The commitment for the pledge, as Peter King well knows when he signed, is that as long as you’re in Congress you will rein in spending and reform government not raise taxes,” Norquist responded. “It’s only as long as you’re in the House or Senate. If he stayed too long, that’s his problem. But you don’t tell the bank, ‘Oh, the mortgage. Wasn’t that a long time ago?’”

He concluded: “If you make a commitment, you keep it.”

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