With all the Right’s hoopla over the President’s “czars” it’s curious how the current Republican Party has opted for their own unelected leader, Grover Norquist.
Kneel before him, Tom Coburn. The Republican senator from Oklahoma had toyed with the idea of supporting a deficit-reduction deal that includes some tax increases, before Norquist conquered him. “He had a moment of weakness where he thought you had to raise taxes to get spending restraint,” Norquist said. “He now knows that’s not true.”
Prostrate yourselves, House Republicans. On Thursday, a day after Republican senators hosted Norquist on their side of the Capitol, GOP House members opened up the Ways and Means Committee room so that he could counsel them on The Pledge, an anti-tax edict written by Norquist and signed by all but four House Republicans, most Republican senators and Mitt Romney.
Lawmakers leaving their private audience with Norquist were agog at his majesty. “I agree with him tremendously,” reported Rep. John Fleming (R-La.).
But Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on Ways and Means, had a less favorable view of the spectacle as he stood in the hallway while Republicans in the committee room kissed Norquist’s ring.
“They’re in this committee room to hold royal court for the person who has asked people to take a pledge . . . not their constituents,” Levin complained. “Essentially, Norquist is here to hold feet to the fire when we need open minds.”
“The leader of the Republican Party is up here today on the Hill. . . . You know who it is: It’s Grover Norquist,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said at a news conference Thursday, a couple of days after charging, with some validity, that Norquist “has the entire Republican Party in the palm of his hand.”
Norquist didn’t quarrel with the charge, as Fox News’s Chad Pergram put it to him, that he’s giving Republicans “their marching orders.”