Grover Norquist, Prophet
by Bernard Chapin
30 April 2004
The world according to Grover Norquist.
On Sunday I witnessed
one of the crowning jewels of conservatism, Grover Norquist, speak at the
2004 Chicago Conservative Convention. He is the President of Americans
for Tax Reform or, as the MC put it, “the spider at the center of our web.”
He was affable yet aggressive, and pummeled statists almost as much as he
made the audience laugh. To set the tone, Norquist introduced himself
as one who originally came from Massachusetts before deciding to immigrate
to the United States.
His description of the political landscape will undoubtedly appeal to many
conservatives as he believes there is no longer much overlap between the
two sides of our ideological spectrum. Grover views those of us on
the right as being “the good guys” who “just want to be left alone.”
Conservatives ask the government for nothing. Norquist used as an example
that “the NRA doesn’t lobby for books to be published called ‘Heather has
Two Hunters’” or a “government grant to be issued allowing us to date girls.”
He easily juxtaposed these positions with those of the left. Norquist
regards their motives as being purely redistributionist. These are
life’s “coercive utopians” who want to give us toilets we can’t flush and
cars in which no family can fit. This is a coalition embodied by takers.
He postulates that without an ever expansive gluttonous government, there
would be no left at all. They’re married to the government while we
are often married to members of the opposite sex.
The President of Americans for Tax Reform sees the dichotomy between conservatives
and pseudo-liberals as being no where more acute than in the nature of their
friendships. Those on the right are friends; whereas, those on the
left are competing parasites. If they didn’t have the government to
rally around as a shrine they’d eventually eat one another alive.
Norquist then shared the secret for Republican transcendence -- to constantly
seize upon the populace’s hatred for taxation. He distributed his organization’s
newsletter, “The Tax Reformer,” and within it was a Xeroxed copy of their
Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The pledge has been signed by 216 U.S.
Representatives of the 2002 Congress, 42 U.S. Senators, and by the president
“Slacker Republicans” was his way of describing the phenomenon of conservatives
who wish to raise our taxes. He jokingly described their tombstones
as reading, “He was a state senator–the end.” The message clearly is
that cutting taxes at both the state and federal level is a winner for all
The graveyards of elected officials are overpopulated with those who don’t
take the property of taxpayers seriously. He told of the Governor of
Alabama who “outwardly had no signs of mad cow disease” and even cited Jesus
in his attempt to create a bigger and lazier leviathan (although Norquist
comically noted here that he was previously unaware of Paul advocating for
a progressive income tax in the New Testament). Although the Governor
got every every newspaper in his state to back his dementia, the people trounced
his initiatives. Fortunately, the same thing happened with the “latte
tax” in Washington State.
Norquist then issued advice to activists on how to deal with public officials
who want to steal more dollars from us in the name of education. He
recommended turning their arguments around by asking why, if education was
so important to them, did they underfund it in the budget in the first place?
Why can’t they reallocate present resources to ensure that the schools have
enough money? The left never will agree to cut spending because that
would take away their modus operandi.
A large guffaw resonated in the ballroom when he relayed his experiences
from the day before during his appearance on “Bolshevik Radio”–otherwise
known as Air America. He was debating a New York Times reporter
who disliked the way in which Norquist referred to the Democrats as “the
party of hate and envy.” Grover’s way of dealing with this was to repeat
it a few more times.
The debate showcased the losing nature of contemporary liberal thought.
They continue to vilify corporations even though 70 percent of the voters
in the 2002 election directly or vicariously owned shares of stock.
Norquist predicts that the class warfare hawked by Democrats will be their
own undoing as our country has changed. The depression has long been
over and, as the greatest generation fades away, there will be fewer and
fewer diehard New Dealers to accept the lies of class division.
The beginning of the end, or perhaps a sign of its rapid acceleration, is
the nomination of John Kerry with his history of 350 votes for increased
taxation. He, as opposed to Ted Kennedy, is “the most liberal senator
in the history of the world.”
The best indicator of tomorrow’s Republican boats rising is the Hispanic
vote. The 35th percentile among this subgroup of citizens is the major
prerequisite for the right being triumphant for the foreseeable future.
My own favorite part of his speech came during the question and answer period
when he was asked as to why there are so many Lexus Liberals around.
Norquist holds that most of the people who get rich quick believe that their
luck is indicative of the way in which everyone makes money. Julia
Roberts was the primary example. He said that 50,000 women in the United
States are as beautiful as she but most of them never get rich. Roberts
believes that everyone, including all the country’s entrepreneurs, made money
in the same fashion she did–by chance. Those who don’t earn it
never appreciate it, and Norquist regards these individuals as being
the most dangerous of all.
But celebrity twits will never threaten us in the way Norquist threatens
the left. He is assertive, dynamic and as clever as a chess Grand Master.
It’s people in the trenches like Grover who are responsible for today’s Republican
majorities. Without his talent and fortitude, we’d be bowed below Misery
Indexes that are actually miserable.
Bernard Chapin is a writer living in Chicago.
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