Thursday, August 4, 2011

Grover Norquist

I was struck by the disgust exhibited by former Wyoming Republican Senator, Allen Simpson, on his interview yesterday with Lawrence O'Donnell.  Two things struck me as interesting, One: Republicans can be incredibly reasonable once they are no longer running for office and 2: I knew next to nothing about Grover Norquist.

Former Senator Allen Simpson posed the following questions:
  • Who is Grover Norquist?
  • Why is he so powerful that republican Congressmen will sign a pledge filled with lies that would supersede their oath of office?
  • Who finances Grover Norquist? His actual words were: "Who is he slave to?"
  • What does this man get out of this? How does he profit from it?
Senator Simpson made me want to dig and find out who this guy is, because just like the rest of America, all I know is that he had this "great and original idea" of forcing republicans to sign a pledge to never increase taxes.  But frankly, I never went beyond thinking that this is a powerful man that must be highly respected for some obscure reason.

Many thanks to Randi Rhodes for going to the heart of this matter on her radio show today and providing an article from The Hill, that I gladly pass on to my followers.

Who is this guy?
  • President of Americans For Tax Reform (ATR) since 1984 - We can thank Ronald Reagan for creating this monster.
  • Republicans are terrified of being black listed by Norquist and losing their positions.
  • Longer serving republicans are beginning to revolt against him.
  • Collaborator and friend with Carl Rove.
ATR funding reportedly comes from right-wing organizations like Olin and Scaife — conservative foundations set up by millionaires and billionaires like the Koch brothers — to support a set of policy goals favorable to their corporations. ATR has also received significant funding from the tobacco, gambling and alcohol industries.
Norquist, working with then-Majority Whip DeLay, who launched the scheme known as the K Street Project in 1995. Run out of ATR offices, it controlled access to key government figures and rewarded GOP cronies by pressuring Washington lobbying firms to hire Republican operatives. Those who were loyal and willing to “pay to play” were granted access.
For additional information on Norquist, please read The Hill: Norquist history 101 by Karen Finney. She explains the connections by Norquist to the Evangelical right, K-Street, Abramoff, money laundering and the collusion with gambling, alcohol and tobacco industries.
    Bloomsberg News Week article titled: Who's Afraid of Grover Norquist? does not shed any light on who is financing this man and why is he accorded fear and power by elected officials in such a blind fashion. But the following excerpt showcases Norquist's personality and the fear of being primaried in future elections.
    Subtlety is not Norquist’s strong suit. In a 2003 interview with NPR, he likened the justification for the estate tax to “the morality of the Holocaust.” He magnifies his influence by hosting other conservative activists at weekly Wednesday breakfasts in Washington and spreading antitax gospel through frequent television appearances. Over the years, Republicans have been reluctant to cross him for fear of being vilified. “If Grover says to the Tea Party, ‘This guy is a bad guy,’ that’s it,” says Bruce Bartlett, a former adviser in the Reagan White House and Treasury Dept. official in the George H.W. Bush Administration.
    It is reminiscent of the power and control given to Rush Limbaugh by the republicans. Limbaugh holds their feet to the fire and Norquist, a leader of the Tea Party, holds them by the throat.  These poor bastards have painted themselves into a corner and the only thing of interest is watching them squirm out of this stranglehold while their hands are tied behind their backs.  

    The question is why? - We know that money talks, but is the GOP so utterly dependent on their corporate masters for election campaign funds that are completely incapable of governing? - And why these two puppets pulling their strings? How was it decided that Limbaugh and Norquist were worth this much freedom and power? What do those who control their moves have on these two? - Puppet masters directing puppets to manage lesser puppets.

    We know that John Boehener runs to cry and meet with Limbaugh when he needs advice and support and we also know that Limbaugh is the puppet of the Koch Brothers and The Heritage Foundation, but Norquist?  Is he also financed by the same groups in the hope of effectively splitting and destroying the GOP to gain complete control of that faction of government?

    I have more questions that answers and hope that Rachel Maddow can add to her repertoire of investigative and clear reporting on the many questions asked by former Senator Allen Simpson.


    Image: Gage Skidmore CC-BY-SA-3.0


    sandinbrick said...

    It's just amazing what our Country has become, I feel most sorry for the younger than me generation. My mom and dad were poor, but worked their hearts out so that I could have the American Dream, now I feel that is lost. So sad.

    BlueTrooth said...

    I watched Alan Simpson ask those questions as well. My first thought was "there's a reason he put out this challenge". It seems obvious to me that Simpson can answer the questions for himself, but he's unable to give the answers for either political or, more likely, legal reasons (a potential for a messy slander). Not to mention, Norquist undoubtedly has some heavy operatives that would just make Simpson's life miserable.
    I read Karen Finney's piece and she provides a good overview, but I'd be interested in seeing a real investigation. How could an unelected activist hold so much power over our LAWS? Is it truly "legal" for our Senators and Representatives to pledge their allegiance in this way? It really doesn't seem very American

    @farrellhamann said...

    My little joke about Grover is that I could chase him out of a room with a Q-Tip dipped in brown mustard. Unlike many of them who are just greedy and evil. Grover seems crazy! He inspires me to get even more on the ass of the Koch brothers, their dirty coal, and SuperFund site in Oklahoma. Grover is a punk! Boycott Stainmaster carpets and all Georgia Pacific products including Dixie Cups.