It appears that Grover Norquist will not be getting any more babies sacrificed to him anytime soon. A slew of Republican officials have said they’ll be willing to make allowances because of the looming fiscal cliff, including senior Republican official Lindsey Graham, a Senator from South Carolina.
Here’s the video, courtesy of Raw Story:
The Americans For Tax Reform website specifies Graham’s willingness to reduce the availability of certain deductions as a violation of the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” that most Republican Congresspeople have signed. Norquist has been somewhat arrogant in his assumptions recently that Republicans will stand with him in solidarity, as evidenced by his recent statements outlined in The Wall Street Journal:
‘No one is caving,” Grover Norquist says emphatically and repeatedly when we meet this week in his office in the nation’s capital. By “no one” he means congressional Republicans, and by “caving” he means surrendering to Barack Obama‘s call for tax increases. Republicans are facing an avalanche of pressure from the White House, the media and even many on Wall Street to abandon their antitax principles to avoid a “fiscal cliff.”
He rattles off a list of reasons Republicans won’t give in. If taxes rise on everyone next year because of a stalemate, he says, “who are you going to believe wants taxes to go up? Obama doesn’t have credibility on keeping your taxes down; Republicans do.”
And don’t forget: “Nothing has changed on the chess board since Barack Obama agreed to extend all the Bush tax cuts two years ago. Exactly the same players. Republicans still control the House and Democrats still control the White House and the Senate.” Then he delivers the clincher: “For 20 years Democrats have tried over and over to trick Republicans into breaking the pledge. It hasn’t happened. This isn’t my first rodeo.”
Norquist also called the fiscal cliff a “completely invented crisis,” which is completely untrue. If interest on our enormous mountain of debt rises above a certain percentage of the GDP, taxes will rise and certain programs will be cut automatically to avert complete fiscal collapse.
Graham stated that, “When you’re $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece, and Republicans — Republicans should put revenue on the table.”
On NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said “everything should be on the table” in negotiations to avert the “fiscal cliff,” the moment at the end of the year when tax hikes and spending cuts are scheduled to take effect at once. King said he agreed with Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), who said last week that the pledge is outdated and unhelpful for reducing the national debt.
“A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress,” King said. “For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed the declaration of war against Japan. I’m not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed. The economic situation is different. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill realized that in the 1980s. I think everything should be on the table. I am opposed to tax increases. The speaker and the majority leader and the president will be in a room trying to find the best package. I’m not going to prejudge it. And we should not be taking ironclad positions.”
Maybe it’s time for lobbyists to stop having so much power in Congress. It’s probably too much to hope for, but the signs are there — there is a chance that we’ll see Norquist become politically irrelevant in time.
Please note that we aren’t saying that this move by Graham is reasonable at all. He still opposes tax raises, just saying that deductions should be lifted — and only then if Democrats agree to strip some so-called “entitlement” programs. However, Grover Norquist — as seen in the video — thinks that the fiscal cliff is a good thing, and the defiance of the Senator in the face of Norquist, a hugely powerful lobbyist, is the positive light seen in this situation.