Grover Norquist is emerging as another one of the secondary losers in this month’s GOP shellacking, as chastened Republicans jump ship on the lobbyist’s infamous “tax pledge.”
Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform, and proponent of the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” — a pledge which prior to Election Day, had 95% support among Republican lawmakers.
Norquist was once asked about his tax pledge on The Daily Show, where he admitted that he devised the idea when he was 12. The reply prompted correspondant Samantha Bee to quip: “what other impossibly reductive gridlock inducing ideas did you have when you were 12?”
Grover Norquist, like Karl Rove before him, is seeing a level of fallout following the unexpected (by Republicans) re-election of Barack Obama earlier this month. And like Rove, it seems denial is Norquist’s first line of defense in coping with a seemingly sudden abandonment of his favored policy.
In recent days, at least five prominent GOP lawmakers — Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) — have walked it back on allegiance to Norquist and his pledge, expressing varying degrees of disinterest in holding to it during interviews and in comments.
Chambliss was one of the first to dissent, who said last week he cares “more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” and King admitted yesterday that the “world has changed” and the pledge may no longer be relevant. Graham out and out said that he’d “violate the pledge” if needed to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” and Corker stated he was not “obligated on the pledge” during a recent interview.
Norquist insists while at least five prominent Republicans have caved so far on the pledge that “no one is caving,” saying that the pushback is just Democrat trickery:
“For 20 years Democrats have tried over and over to trick Republicans into breaking the pledge. It hasn’t happened. This isn’t my first rodeo.”
Grover also not-so-subtly threatened GOP lawmakers similarly inspired to denounce the pledge, saying:
“If you want to go to your voters and say I promised you this, and I’m breaking my promise, you can have that conversation … You’re not having an argument with me. You’ve made a commitment to your voters.”
Norquist restated his belief that raising taxes in any form will dissuade voters from voting Republican down the line.