Grover Norquist Sells Out

Grover Norquist has a reputation has one of the most hard-line fiscal conservatives out there, which makes two recent statements about the Republican race all the more distressing:

First, here’s what he had to say about Rudy Giuliani:

Rudy Giuliani’s campaign twice circulated to reporters today a very chummy exchange of letters between the candidate and Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist.


In Norquist’s response, also written today, he expresses his “delight” with Giuliani’s answer to his question during last week’s CNN/You Tube debate. Would the candidates oppose or veto any tax increases? “You simply said, ‘yes’,” Norquist writes.

“In looking at the records of all the Republican candidates, yours clearly stands out,” he continues. “You cut the income tax, business taxes, sales taxes, property-related taxes, and nuisance taxes. You are the most successful tax cutter in modern New York history and, on balance, the most successful tax cutter in the Republican field today. If you are elected president, I will look forward to working with you to reduce and reform taxes, restore fiscal discipline, increase government transparency, and pursue pro-growth policies that will improve America’s competitiveness in the global economy.”

What Norquist ignores about Giuliani’s tenure as Mayor is that, while he may have cut some taxes in the City, he spent tremendous amounts of time lobbying in Albany and Washington for subsidies from the State of New York and the Federal Government. He’s not a fiscal conservative, he just likes spending other people’s money.

But that’s not all, here’s what Norquist had to say about Mike Huckabee:

“He has signed the pledge and he has promised to veto and oppose any efforts to raise income taxes if he was President. And at the debate he said that he would support the veto of any tax increase, so that was good too… So he’s made that commitment.”

“Now, Club for Growth has been rough on him because of his period when he was governor. We had arguments with him when he was governor because he supported too much spending and too much taxes as governor… It’s one of these things that as governor he’s had a bad track record on taxes and spending, but as a candidate for President he is running as someone who will not raise taxes in the future and who is talking about fundemental tax reform such as going to a retail sales tax or the so-called fair tax. So some people say ‘If you’ve changed your mind, we don’t like you,’ but that’s not my position. I believe that when people say I used to be pro-choice but now I’m going to be pro-life and here’s why, if they can make a credible argument as to why they have switched in their position, I think we should accept converts. That’s what winning looks like.”

In other words, he doesn’t matter that he governed as a tax-and-spend liberal while he was Governor of Arksansas, he says he’s going to be a fiscal conservative as President.

Grover, I just don’t get it.

H/T: The Crossed Pond

  • Al-Ozarka

    “…I just don’t get it.”

    Lrt me try to help out, then.

    It’s much the same argument as this bullsh8t about Huckabee’s stance on illegal immigration, isn’t it?

    As governor of a state inundated by an influx of illegal aliens as result of a Federal government which has REFUSED to enforce laws, Huckabee was forced to make provisions in Arkansas to address problems caused by the Feds’ inaction.

    As a governor, an individual has to work within Federal law dictated by congress, Potus, and Scotus. A governor is unable to make federal law or even enforce federal law.

    As PRESIDENT, an individual has at least SOME power to bring change to a system that is harmful and corrupt.

    Huckabee has made pledges concerning taxes much like he has made pledges concerning illegal immigration.

    As POTUS, he would NOT raise taxes. As POTUS he would SECU”RE the borders first before even ATTEMPTING to solve the problems caused by the influx of illegals caused by an incompetent federal government.

    A governor manages a department of sorts…his/her state.

    A POTUS makes federal policy.

    I’m surprised at Norquists’ admission. But he is correct and after careful thought, it seems, has come to the conclusion that a person’s job as a manager of a lower office does NOT reflect his motivations if he/she becomes a CEO.

    The CEO has the ability to make policy changes that affect the way lower managers manage.

    Simple as that.

    Get it now?

  • TanGeng

    nice analogy… except there is no reporting structure from the President down to the Governor of Arkansas.

    Mike Huckabee was his own man in Little Rock. He was calling all the shots. With that power he decided to spend a lot of taxpayer money and then tax everyone for it.

    Huckabee’s immigration stance might be the only thing I like about him.

  • Jeff Molby

    Huckabee’s immigration stance might be the only thing I like about him.

    Don’t sell him short. His joke-delivery is top-notch.

  • Al-Ozarka

    “He was calling all the shots.”

    A fundamental misunderstanding of Araknsas’ constitution and political make-up at best…a dishonest misrepresentation of Mike Huckabee’s “power” at worst.

  • TanGeng

    He can’t violate the state constitution or make miracles happen. Does that make him any less responsible for his record?

    Those budget proposals and tax increases occurred under his watch. If it wasn’t Tax Hike Mike sending those bloated proposals to the legislature and then signing the offsetting tax increases, who was it? He’s executive of Arkansas. He doesn’t get marching orders from anyone else.

    It’s his record, and it’s not fiscally conservative by any stretch of the imagination, even when you consider the underlying circumstances.

    Vetoing tax increases doesn’t matter if Huckabee’s going to start spending money wildly without a sense of restraint. Huckabee’s a spender. Because of the Arkansas Constitution, he needed a balanced budget, so he’s a tax-and-spender. Without that clause in the Arkansas Constitution, he would have been a borrow-and-spender.

  • Brad Warbiany

    They’re all talking about cutting taxes.

    Yet Norquist is ignoring the guy who is actually serious about cutting spending.

  • Mark

    Giuliani and Huckabee are two of the favorites to get the nomination. Norquist wants to keep his influence in any potential Republican presidency. In the process, Norquist is ignoring that influence is meaningless if you’ve just conformed your positions to whatever the person you want to influence believes. It’s something I’ve been arguing for awhile: the two party system isn’t corrupt because it allows interest groups to have too much influence; it’s corrupt because it results in interest groups sacrificing their principles for the perceived “greater good.”

    See my posts here:

    and here: