It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Behind the curtain of the Great and Powerful Grover Norquist
WASHINGTON—If aliens landed in Washington, D.C. right now, they might assume in their search for a terrestrial leader that a bespectacled man called "Grover Norquist" controlled the planet's most powerful nation. They might also conclude that this person had magical powers.
The misunderstanding wouldn't necessarily be their fault.
Grover Fever has swept the nation's capital this week, shortly after thousands of politicos waddled back into the city after a Thanksgiving break. After years of notoriety in Washington but near obscurity elsewhere, Norquist is becoming a household name around the dinner table.
"The Colbert Report" recently devoted a feature to Norquist, portraying the 56-year-old Harvard graduate as an omniscient creature whose power knows no bounds. Norquist has been all over cable news shows and the subject of lengthy profiles in prestigious newspapers and magazines. Outside Washington's Metro stations this week, hawkers handed out free tabloid dailies bearing the image of his face. Politico devoted an entire hour to him at a newsmakers breakfast on Wednesday morning.
His name is on the lips of top Democrats in Congress who blame him for single-handedly bringing the United States of America to an immediate standstill. Norquist is "one obstacle standing between Congress and compromise," Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid exclaimed from the Senate floor on Tuesday morning.
His crime? Norquist has persuaded more than 1,000 politicians to sign a pledge never to raise taxes through his organization, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). But with Congress now debating how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff—a series of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to kick in Jan. 1 if a budget deal isn't reached with President Barack Obama—some Republicans appear to be wiggling away from Norquist's grip.
A few GOP lawmakers have voiced a willingness to eliminate deductions within the tax code, which, without offsetting tax cuts elsewhere, would technically violate the pledge. One of the possible pledge violators, Republican Rep. Peter King of New York, called Norquist a "low-life" and said his wife would "knock his head off" after Norquist compared the taxpayer pledge to King's marriage vows.
But Norquist is like a bearded Lernaean Hydra, which grows only more powerful the more you attack it. The evidence? A majority of Republicans have not publicly joined the rogue moderates, reinforcing the narrative that they remain under Norquist's binding spell.
The disclosures show that only two billionaire-backed groups have provided over 66 percent of Norquist’s funding:
When David Koch ran to the right of Reagan as vice president on the 1980 Libertarian ticket (it polled 1 percent), his campaign called for the abolition not just of Social Security, federal regulatory agencies and welfare but also of the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and public schools
the historian Kim Phillips-Fein labeled “Invisible Hands” in her prescient 2009 book of that title: those corporate players who have financed the far right ever since the du Pont brothers spawned the American Liberty League in 1934 to bring down F.D.R. You can draw a straight line from the Liberty League’s crusade against the New Deal “socialism” of Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission and child labor laws to the John Birch Society-Barry Goldwater assault on J.F.K. and Medicare to the Koch-Murdoch-backed juggernaut against our “socialist” president.