Prominent Republican lobbyist Grover Norquist accused Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) of causing the shuttering of government operations by selling his counterparts in the House a bill of goods he couldn’t provide.
Hold on, what? The fellow famed for his drown it in a bathtub quip has a problem with the shutdown?
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.”
NPR’s Mara Liasson interview with Grover Norquist, May 25, 2001
I realize that the shutdown in its current iteration and Norquist’s wish aren’t identical, but damn, they hardly seem incommensurable.
For that matter, isn’t it just a bit odd that one of Norquist’s criticisms of Cruz is as follows?
“Ted Cruz, from left field, said we have to defund Obamacare permanently in this [resolution],” Norquist complained, adding that Cruz wouldn’t accept other concessions.
“So that got locked in as a principle,” Norquist explained. “And people went out on talk radio and said if you’re not for this you’re a coward, you’re a RINO.”
This is, after all, the same Grover Norquist even more famous for his tax pledge than he is for wanting to drown government in a tub.
In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. While ATR has the role of promoting and monitoring the Pledge, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is actually made to a candidate’s constituents, who are entitled to know where candidates stand before sending them to the capitol. Since the Pledge is a prerequisite for many voters, it is considered binding as long as an individual holds the office for which he or she signed the Pledge.
There has got to be more to Norquist’s animosity for Cruz than meets the eye. As far as I can tell, everything Cruz is attempting to accomplish here, well, other than burnishing his singularly annoying brand of credibility for 2016, seems perfectly in line with Norquist’s own hard right, anti-tax, anti-American stance.
Anti-American? Now, isn’t that just a bit harsh of me? No.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
Constitution of the United States of America, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1
How one can be not merely opposed to, but actively responsible for, and largely successful in attempting to gut a key component of the Constitution as framed by the right-wing-sainted Founding Fathers and still be considered pro-American is, for me, a tremendous mystery. The lesser mystery of the prototypical anti-American right winger sinking his teeth into one of his ideological progeny leaves me even more bemused than amused.
Cross-posted from Ars Skeptica.