by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Known to one and all simply as Grover, he is the keeper of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge signed by almost all Republicans committing themselves not to raise taxes. For this offense, Grover is deemed the enemy of all that is right and just.
The pollster and ABC News commentator Matthew Dowd said on This Week that “Grover Norquist is an impediment to good governing. The only good thing about Grover Norquist is that he was named after a character from Sesame Street.” Not everyone has been as juvenile as Dowd, but he captured the gleeful spirit of the anti-Norquist pile-on.
The idea that we’d have “good governing” only if more tax increases were thrown on top of poorly designed, out-of-control entitlements, wasteful subsidies, rotten schools, and an ever-growing mess of regulation is fanciful. Obamacare increased taxes by more than $500 billion, and our governing did not noticeably become better as a result.
Grover has three insights that are absolutely correct: 1) Revenues from tax increases will almost invariably be spent. Does anyone believe that if George W. Bush had not cut taxes early in his first term that the Tom DeLay and Nancy Pelosi Congresses wouldn’t have, in their collective wisdom, found ways to spend the additional revenues? 2) The typical structure of the Washington budget deal is tax increases now in exchange for promised spending cuts over time that don’t materialize. 3) The Republican brand is dependent on its status as the anti-tax party.