Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson came out swinging against the Republican Party today in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. Simpson took his own party to task for its unwillingness to compromise at all on tax increases.
Simpson said that Republican rigidity on the subject has hampered the country as now a deal with Democrats on debt reduction is even further away.
“You can’t cut spending your way out of this hole. You can’t grow your way out of this hole, and you can’t tax your way out of this hole. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, we tell these people. This is madness. If you want to be a purist, go somewhere on a mountaintop and praise the east or something. But if you want to be in politics, you learn to compromise. And you learn to compromise on the issue without compromising yourself. Show me a guy who won’t compromise and I’ll show you a guy with rock for brains.”
The former senator, along with debt commission co-chair Erskine Bowles, developed a plan after being appointed to a bipartisan debt reduction committee by President Obama. Their plan which became known as Simpson-Bowles, was almost completely ignored on Capitol Hill.
During the interview with CNN he lamented the Republicans focus on social issues and on the way Americans for Tax Reform head Grover Norquist has been able to control the party.
“I guess I’m known as a RINO now, which means a Republican in name only, because, I guess, of social views, perhaps, or common sense would be another one, which seems to escape members of our party. For heaven’s sake, you have Grover Norquist wandering the earth in his white robes saying that if you raise taxes one penny, he’ll defeat you. He can’t murder you. He can’t burn your house. The only thing he can do to you, as an elected official, is defeat you for reelection. And if that means more to you than your country when we need patriots to come out in a situation when we’re in extremity, you shouldn’t even be in Congress.”