You know America’s biggest anti-tax advocate is in trouble when he starts getting unhinged and begins attacking other Republicans. That’s exactly what Grover Norquist did on CNN Monday when he said,”Congressman Peter King of New York knows full well that the pledge he signed and others have is for while you’re in Congress, not a two-year period.” Norquist cautioned other Republicans too thinking of dissenting: “We’ve got some people discussing impure thoughts on national television.”
Poor Grover Norquist, even Republicans are running from him. He claims that all he’s trying to do is keep politicians honest. He wants to make sure that they keep their word when they signed his “no new tax” pledge (a pledge many of them signed all the way back during the Clinton administration), and he insists that the pledge was made not to him but to the voters. So his supporters want to know – what’s wrong with that?
There’s a lot wrong with it. First of all, Grover Norquist has no authority to dictate how members of Congress act. Then you have to question the judgement of any politician who would allow themselves to be held to a long-term pledge on “no new taxes” knowing full well the country’s economic circumstances could change. Moreover, who the died and left Grover Norquist in charge of domestic tax policy – he doesn’t even hold a seat in Congress?
The Norquist pledge is not only in direct conflict with each House member’s sworn pledge to the Constitution it’s just plain stupid. To handcuff yourself in this way when it’s your sworn duty to make decisions in the best interest of the public in a constantly changing political and economic landscape reeks of bad judgment. Obviously, many Republicans signed the pledge to get campaign funding. Hence, their misplaced allegiance to Norquist. But any government official who signs a pledge that ties his hands in getting the country’s work done is not doing his job and should be removed from office. Any politician that has pledged anything other than their oath to the Constitution is not worthy of their position to represent his constituents. They are elected to represent us, and uphold the Constitution including those articles that that relate to protecting America’s general welfare including those on “taxation”. Section 8 of Article I states:
“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States…”
Grover Norquist will lose this battle.There were several high-profile defections this week, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Sen. Lindsay Graham, Georgia Sen.Saxby Chambliss, New York Rep. Peter King, and there will be more to come. Grover is already struggling with messaging too. During an appearance at the Washington Ideas Forum on Nov. 15, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd repeatedly pressed Norquist on why there was no mandate to raise taxes on the wealthy. After all, President Obama had campaigned and won on raising taxes for the wealthy; a majority of respondents in exit polls and other surveys say they back the move. The normally pithy Norquist seemed to have no answer. That’s because he knows that the majority of voters support tax increases on the top 2% in poll after poll after poll.