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If you don’t know who Grover Norquist is, allow us to explain: he’s an angry little man who bullies Congressional candidates into signing his “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” which basically is the wannabe lawmakers’ promise that he or she won’t vote to raise taxes under any circumstances. If a candidate refuses to sign the pledge — or fails to live up to its requirements once elected to office — Norquist moves heaven and earth to make sure that person isn’t elected (or re-elected) to Congress.
As the founder of the group Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist has become a very powerful player in the Republican Party — 95-percent of Republicans in Congress have signed his stubborn pledge, and are subject to Norquist’s bullying. He’s basically the Scut Farkus of the Republican Party.
But Norquist’s pledge is losing some of its luster amongst GOPers as the country approaches the so-called “fiscal cliff.” And one of those GOP lawmakers standing up to Norquist’s bullying is New York’s own Congressman Peter King.
Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss got the ball against Norquist’s pledge rolling last week when he said in a television interview that “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge. And I care about the country that we leave our children and grandchildren. If we do it (Norquist’s) way then we’ll continue in debt and I just have a disagreement with him about that.”
King echoed Chambliss’ discontent with Norquist’s pledge over the weekend, noting that taking “ironclad positions” during budget negotiations wasn’t the best way to go.
“I agree entirely with Saxby Chambliss. A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress,” King said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed a declaration of war against Japan. I’m not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed, and the economic situation is different.”
King is just one of several powerful GOP lawmakers finally standing up to Norquist.
Norquist responded to King’s comments, telling CNN that “I do want to correct one thing. Congressman Peter King of New York knows full well that the pledge that he signed and others have, is for while you’re in Congress. It’s not for a two year period.”
This is the first time in more than 20 years that prominent GOPers have conjured up the cojones to stand up to Norquist.
Sorry, Grover, the party appears to be over.