If you want to run for office as a Republican candidate and you want to win, you must take an oath and swear to Grover Norquist that you will never, ever, ever raise taxes. Defy Norquist and you will be denied an elected post. Go back on your oath and the consequences are swift and harsh: you will lose your position. When asked what happens to someone who goes back on his word and violates the pledge, Norquist says, "Ask George H. Walker Bush how his second term was?" Who is this dictator that can single-handedly decide winners and losers? Where did he come from? Why does he have so much power?
The answers to these questions are more than complicated. Like everything with the modern GOP, Norquist has more tentacles than an octopus and he is clearly the self-annointed and appointed ruler of the Republican party today. His past is full of scandal and corruption, yet with the exposure of each and every scandal, Norquist only continues to increase his power base. Most people in America have never even heard of him. Those that have usually know very little about him.
Grover Norquist was born in October of 1956. He is a native of Pennsylvania and his father was vice-President of Polaroid. Norquist went to Harvard where he graduated with a BA, as well as an MBA. His first entry into the world of politics came when he was barely a teenager and young Grover offered his services as a volunteer for Richard Nixon's 1968 Presidential campaign. From there, Norquist's early career included work as both an a economist and speech writer for the Chamber of Commerce. Today, he is the President of Americans For Tax Reform, a group he founded in 1985. He serves on many boards of many conservative groups, including the NRA and the Nixon Center. He also co- founded the Islamic Free Market Institute.
According to the website of Americans For Tax Reform, Norquist currently has more than 1100 signers of his Tax Protection Pledge on the state level. On the federal level, his site boasts that as of 2009, 172 members of the House and 34 members of the Senate had signed, including Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Although latest figures have not been published, most believe that every single Republican in the House and Senate right now, with the exceptions of Olympia Snowe of Maine and Dick Lugar of Indiana have signed 'The Norquist Pledge'. Not only does Norquist recruit candidates on the state and local level, he is always working behind the scenes to find what he considers appropriate candidates on the federal level.
Norquist's philosophy of government is simply stated. "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."
Norquist believes in tax cuts and deregulation, so much so that the only two things that the federal government should be a part of are the miltary and police protection. That means that Norquist is against:
- government involvement in education
- environmental controls or regulation
- Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid
- regulations or consumer protection that control any aspect of business or banking
- the CDC, the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration
The list could go on and on. Government agency? You name it; Norquist wants it gone! Norquist has been instrumental in most, if not all of the GOP efforts to 'starve the beast' of government. The theory is so basic that it does not require a degree in economics. The more and more you cut taxes, the fewer and fewer government programs you can offer. No revenue comes in and it then follows that there is no revenue to spend. Period! Norquist was directly instrumental in the design of the the Bush tax cuts. Norquist NEVER intended that they be temporary. The Bush tax cuts were to be the beginning. More and more tax cuts were and are planned. The economy does not matter, the global status does not change anything. The goal is to cut and cut and cut.
Mr. Norquist was the co-author of Newt Gingrich's Contract with America which was precipitated upon the goals of conservative America: shrink government, decrease taxes and regulation, promote entrepreneurial activity, and at the same time, get rid of any public assistance programs and greatly limit tort protection. During Norquist's tenure at the Chamber of Commerce, he learned the power of binding together and promoting a huge network of conservative business owners. Norquist knew that if conservative people were put into key positions, they would have access to change public policy, with or without public support.
Grover Norquist has been a player during many scandals. The first controversy that he was involved in was weapon sales to the Contras during the Iran-Contra scandal. While Oliver North went to prison, Norquist went free. Every single scandal, Norquist seemed to have a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card.
- "Casino" Jack Abramoff and Grover Norquist were friends for years. Norquist managed Abramoff's early campaign to become chairman of the College Republican National Committee. Norquist was directly implicated in the funneling of money for Abramoff during the gambling scandal that sent Abramoff and dozens of others to prison. Norquist did not go to prison.
- The K Street Project Lobbying scandal had Norquist's name all over it. After the elections of 1994 in which the GOP overwhelmingly took control of Congress, Norquist and his buddies, Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff, along with Tom Delay, pressured lobbying firms to hire key Republican party members. They also designed spread sheets and dossiers, showing political contributions and then bartered access to politicians. The more money donated, the more access. The less money, the less access. The 'pay to play' game became illegal after this scheme was unearthed. Tom Delay went to prison, Abramoff went to prison, Reed barely escaped prison and Norquist came away again unscathed. Reed, once disgraced, has since come back as the head and founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which is eerily similar in its goals to every other conservative organization. On a side note, Rick Santorum was also a player in the K Street scandal. He was, by most accounts, the Senate liason who met with the lobbyists every week and 'scheduled' access to his Senate colleagues in the pay to play scandal.
- Most recently and even in the not so distant past, Norquist has been accused by some conservatives of being a supporter and money launderer for Islamic terrorist groups. His one time partner and the co-founder of Americans For Tax Reform, Kahled Saffuri, previously worked for Abdurahman Alamoudi at the American Muslim Council. It was with $20,000 from Alamoudi, that Norquist founded the Islamic Free Market Institute. While that sounds innocuous enough, just a few years after that, Alamoudi was arrested with well over a quarter of a million dollars given to him by Moammar Gaddafi (Libya) to finance the support of jihad. Alamoudi is serving a 23 year prison sentence. Alamoudi was so well-placed that it was he who helped establish and approve certain Muslim chaplains in the military. Many, both conservative and liberal, have questioned not only Norquist's ties to Alamoudi, but Alamoudi's ties to the Department of Defense. For more information about Norquist's partner, Saffuri, link to: http://victoryinstitute.net/2010/09/30/khaled-saffuri-where-is-he-now/
- Norquist has been most vocally criticized by Frank Gaffney, the extreme right wing head of the Center For Security Policy. Gaffney's sanity has often been questioned, but he has been consistent in his distrust of Grover Norquist and even goes so far as to label him a 'Muslim extremist'. Most recently, Norquist was slammed at his own CPAC event, for being a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood by the more well-respected conservative, David Horowitz. The battle is being waged by conservatives on the one side, who believe that Norquist is a sympathizer and funnels money and influence to Hamas, and those on the other side, who believe that Horowitz and Gaffney are simply paranoid.
- Most recently, Senator Tom Coburn, (R), from Oklahoma is waging a war with Norquist. Norquist has called Coburn out for violating the pledge and Coburn has fired back, saying in his defense, "...which pledge is the most important? Is it the pledge to uphold your oath to the Constitution of the United States or a pledge from a special interest group who claims to speak for all of American conservatives when, in fact, they don't." Perhaps Coburn should ask one-term President George H W Bush how well his second term worked out. Maybe Coburn doesn't realize that Norquist has stated that Coburn will face harsh consequences for his violation of the purity pledge. Perhaps, Coburn is not aware that Norquist has over 100 thousand big time corporate donors, just ready to do his bidding. Coburn, on April 25th bumped it up a notch and said, "Norquist is chief cleric of Sharia tax law". Norquist has stated that "Coburn lied to get elected!" The war is heating up. This is going to be a good one to watch!
Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC host of the Last Word calls Grover Norquist "the most powerful man in America that does not sit in the White House." O'Donnell may be correct. Norquist has ties to countless corporations, including tobacco and big oil, lobbyists, and most of the conservative think tanks in the country. The ever-powerful Koch brothers are supporters. Norquist is the self-appointed managing director of the hard core right and he takes his position seriously.
If you have never heard of him, it is time to get acquainted. This man has influenced EVERY Republican legislator beginning with President Reagan. Go easy! Start with Wikipedia and go from there. The articles are endless, perhaps because his power is endless. He is the GOP king maker, but he is the real king! The ruler of the Republican party! And don't forget! The road to any GOP-controlled White House is conditioned upon a signature on a 'pledge' to the king,
Taxpayer Protection Pledge
I,________________, pledge to the taxpayers of the (____district of the) state of ________________and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
WONDER WHY THE GOP VOTES NO ON REMOVING LOOPHOLES OR SUBSIDIES THAT PROTECT THE RICHEST OF CORPORATIONS?