The long march of Grover Norquist

The long march of Grover Norquist

by digby

Ezra Klein has published an interesting post today showing that regardless of whether Norquist's pledge is "violated" he's still won. I think he's right and have been saying for a very long tedious time that the entire formulation of the "balanced approach" that asked for the rich to "pay a little bit more" in exchange for two to one cuts to vital programs was a fools game. 

In fact, I wrote this over a year ago:

What do you suppose would happen if the Republicans decided that forcing the Democrats to cut social security, Medicare and Medicaid (not to mention dozens of other programs)in the lead up to an important election was worth "confronting" Grover Norquist and demanding that he allow some token, temporary tax hikes or cuts in subsidies? Would he do it?

Let's see how this might work out. Weeks of haggling and back and forth about the huge, onerous tax hikes demanded by the Democrats. Slowly, they lower their requests until it's more of a symbolic thing, designed to "force the Republicans" to give in on Norquist's pledge, rather than actually raise much money. The Republicans give in, Norquist "loses" and the Democrats "win," right?


Keep in mind that Grover Norquist actually has a bigger agenda than his tax pledge:

"Every time you cut programs, you take away a person who has a vested interest in high taxes and you put him on the tax rolls and make him a taxpayer. A farmer on subsidies is part welfare bum, whereas a free-market farmer is a small businessman with a gun."

"My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."

"We want to reduce the size of government in half as a percentage of GNP over the next 25 years. We want to reduce the number of people depending on government so there is more autonomy and more free citizens."

Would he give up his role as tax enforcer in order to make the Democrats enact the biggest and most unpopular cuts to the safety net in history? I don't know. But if you don't think it's at least possible then you don't really understand Norquist's goals.

Via Brendan Nyhan:

RICK PERLSTEIN: Of course Grover Norquist wants to get rid of Social Security and Medicare. It's his life's work.

GROVER NORQUIST: No, I don't. Don't tell me my position, sir. I've written a book on the subject.

RICK PERLSTEIN: You said that you're a Leninist and these things are thirty-year projects. These things are on the record.

GROVER NORQUIST: We're not name-calling and I'm a Leninist? Hey, wait a minute, grow up. I'm not a Leninist. I'm an American, thank you. I fought Leninists all my life. And we crushed the Soviet Union, thank you.

RICK PERLSTEIN: Have you ever said you had Lenin as a hero?



He was.

I would imagine that Grover thinks it's all the more delicious that it's being done immediately after the Democrats won a big election with a liberal coalition.