Ramona's picture

    It's Monday and Grover Norquist still hasn't been Elected

    Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party.  Once it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships.  They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element.  The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican.  He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned--and there was a degree of plain decency in the country.  Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today's.  Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor.

    In the years between Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the party migrated southward down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the idea of public service and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the Great Crusade Against the Sixties, the Death Star of Government, a gang of pirates that diverted and fascinated the media by their sheer chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald Reagan who, while George McGovern flew bombers in World War II, took a pass and made training films in Long Beach.

    The Nixon moderate vanished like the passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of angry white men who rose to power on pure punk politics.  "Bipartisanship is another term of date rape," says Grover Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the GOP.  "I don't want to abolish government.  I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."

    (From We're not in Lake Woebegon anymore -- Garrison Keillor, 2004 -- an adapted excerpt from "Homegrown Democrat.")

    When that piece was written, eight years ago (No, really, eight years ago.  I know, not much has changed.  Believe me, I know), Grover Norquist, a private citizen who has never, ever held public office nor has ever, ever even served as a cabinet or staff member to any elected public official, had, since the tight-ass days of Reagan the Great, been entrenched as the go-to guy for educating elected Republicans on the mandatoriness of No New Taxes.

    So last week in the Here and Now, teetering as we are on the edge of that Fiscal Cliff (or sidewalk curb, depending on how you look at it),  it was all Grover all the time again, and more than a few of us resumed the old familiar scratching of heads over how this can keep happening.

    As Claire McKaskill so deliciously brought it into the real world last week, "I feel almost sorry for John Boehner. There is incredible pressure on him from a base of his party that is unreasonable about this. And he’s got to decide, is his speakership more important or is the country more important. And in some ways, he has got to deal with this base of the Republican Party who Grover Norquist represents, and, you know, everybody’s elevated Grover-- I mean, I met him for the first time this morning. Nice to meet him. But, you know, who is he? Why is he this guy that is--has--has captured so much attention in this?"

    Well, exactly.  Haven't we all been asking that same question?  Who is this guy anyway?  Even a good read of his bio doesn't really explain why the Republican electeds have to go so often to this guy for support and sustenance.  Can't they figure these things out for themselves?  There's something more than a little creepy about him.  Besides being Newt Gingrich's first base coach during the government shutdown of the 90s, it's no secret Grover worked with Ollie North during the Iran-Contra mess and has had his name (and his emails) linked with the likes of Jack Abramoff.  In the words of Lynn Cheney (who had to gall to say this about John Kerry) "He's not a nice man."

    Steve Kornacki over at Salon suggested Norquist is just a figurehead and really doesn't speak for the party on tax issues.  He's a handy vehicle for the electeds who really, really want what Grover tells them they're absolutely required to want. But when 95% of the House Republicans and all but one of the 2012 presidential candidates have signed Grover's own baby, the unauthorized "Taxpayer Protection Pledge", and when Grover is in the news and making appearances on all the news shows last week (except MSNBC and Current, of course--they only just talked about him), he is the figurehead in charge.  (Yes, I know it's unprecedented, but so is the idea of a Grover Norquist.  In a representative democracy, anyway.)

    But last week Ezra Klein said Grover is winning.  He puts it this way:

    You might think that Grover Norquist would be in hiding right now. Republicans are parading before the cameras, one after the other, to proclaim their intention of breaking his anti-tax pledge. And yet Norquist is everywhere. He’s doing television shows and talking with reporters. Wednesday, he was the headline guest at Politico’s Playbook Breakfast.
    Amidst the liberal glee over the demise of Norquist’s anti-tax pledge, it’s worth being clear about something: Norquist is winning. Big time. It’s this moment, the death of his pledge’s mostly unblemished record, that he’s been working toward all these years.
    Don’t take Norquist’s pledge at face value. It’s an absurdity. From a budgetary standpoint, it’s an obscenity. And everyone — Norquist included, because he is very, very smart — knew it would eventually fall. It’s how it falls that matters. And right now, it’s falling exactly according to plan.

     Alrighty then.  Whatever.

    I've been trying to think of a person who might ever have been the Democratic version of a Grover Norquist and I'm coming up blank.  (If any of you can think of one, now would be a good time to share it.  Anybody?) 

    I can think of someone on the outside the Democrats should be listening to.  Not that I want to see any of our electeds signing pledges--that would be crazy--but if ever the Democratic leaders needed someone to be giving them some Big Picture, outside-the-Beltway clarification to what needs to be done, it's right now, right this minute.  And I believe Robert Reich is just the guy to do it.

    If there's one problem with my current hero, however, it's that he's too polite.  He's a hard-fact guy who engages in wishful thinking, instead of talking about bathtub drownings or the commitments of Peter King's wife.  (Woo hoo, Peter! I've never liked you, for obvious reasons, but good answer!  "My wife would knock off Grover Norquist's head.")

    But back to our guy.  It's true--no histrionics with Professor Reich--but man, can he relate:

    What worries me most about the tactical maneuvers over the "fiscal cliff" and "grand bargain" is that official Washington seems to be losing sight of the larger picture: We still have a huge number of unemployed, and many of those who have jobs continue to lose ground. If we were a sane society, we'd raise taxes on the rich in order to afford a first-rate system of public education for all our people, starting with early-childhood and extending through four-year college or technical; we'd borrow at historically-low rates (the yield on the ten-year Treasury is still below 1.4 percent) to put millions to work upgrading our crumbling infrastructure; and we'd turn our extraordinarily inefficient and costly healthcare system -- the single biggest driver of future budget deficits -- into a single-payer system focused on prevention and on healthy outcomes. Instead, we're locked into a game of chicken over the budget deficit, and preparing to cut public investments and safety nets.

     And the best part of Robert Reich?  Besides the fact that he gets it and knows how we should deal with it?  He served under Presidents Ford and Carter and was Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton.  He actually served in our government and understands how it's supposed to operate. Someone like Robert Reich should be our go-to guy, but even if he isn't, at least we can't be accused of looking to someone like Grover Norquist to lead us. 

    That's something, anyway.

    (Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices)



    Thanks for this - the content and links deliver good factual data. 

    (I did also glean some interesting info from:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/171475/analysis-grover-norquists-budget-largely-financed-just-two-billionaire-backed-nonprofits -  No surprise the Koch's and their motley crew are primary backers of the Norquist entity.)

    Interesting that there doesn't appear to be an easily accessible link to facts regarding Norquist's personal financial status quo, including his 'salary' from Americans for Tax Reform.  Hopefully others will publish and we can obtain a bit more insight.

    It appears that he is really just a puppet and only another front man for all the same jackals that are so prominent in the GOP's cove bully brigade.

    (It is interesting he married a Muslim woman in 2004.)

    One thing is for sure - whenever Norquist is perceived as 'winning', the majority of Americans are losing. 



    I actually meant to include that article about the funding of Grover and forgot to do it, so thanks for that. 

    There's big money floating around all the time with that bunch and it's hard to keep it straight.  One thing we know for sure.  They ain't doin' it for nothin'.

    "I've been trying to think of a person who might ever have been the Democratic version of a Grover Norquist and I'm coming up blank.  (If any of you can think of one, now would be a good time to share it.  Anybody?)" 

    Warren Buffett perhaps? But, then again, Buffett has credentials and, you know, work history. I agree, I can't really think of anyone either. Perhaps democrats aren't pure theory crack-heads after all?!

    I was thinking more in terms of someone who can bark orders to our elected leaders and know for sure they'll kowtow.  Can't think of anyone like that, can you?

    The Likud party, at times. Just Likud, not Labor or Kadima or the others.

    Again, I'm looking for an individual.  Here in the U.S.  Someone outside of government the Democrats might have elevated to that degree.  Someone who had as much or more power than an elected official.  I don't think it's ever happened.  Nor should it have.

    Norquist, Limbaugh,beck,Fox news, and the rest of the right wing media have created an environment in the gop. from which it is impossible for a genuine conservative leader to emerge. Their dedication to dishonesty and an assortment of other nonsense has destroyed the gop as a representative voice of Americans. They have become the pawns of a small group of right wing billionaires. The main stream press seems to be complicit in this. In the recent election romney they seemed to favor romney and made lots of excuses for him, instead of calling him on his bs.  How come when a Mormon (people who believe in honoring their ancestors) spits on his fathers legacy by not releasing his tax returns ( The One thing his father is remembered for) the mainstream press did not pursue it further. Were they just interested in keeping the election close for better ratings? Think about it. this guy is in and out of politics at the presidential level and he put something in his tax returns that would have made him unelectable.How stupid is he.I dont expect anything from the right wing shills, but the mainstream media should have kept after him.With bush I think we had a smart guy who played dumb,but romney appears to be a dummy who looks the part but is really stupid.Why did the press allow him to get away with it. Take the racists out of his vote totals and he would have lost by 25% to 30%.Fox limbaugh, beck,norquist and the rest of the right wing media seem tomove in lockstep







    Great piece, Mona.

    Thank you, Michael.

    No matter how Grover salvages his sock puppet career,  he is growing more irrelevant as time rolls on.  When I moved here in South West Florida 15 years ago, there was only a county democratic party club that had regular meetings.  There are now 5 democratic groups including a young democrats and Latino democrats club.   There is not a young republican club anywhere in the area.  Things are changing in the demographics and a willingness to work for change. 

    I meet Prof. Reich in the late 1980's when he was a guest lecturer at a school I was attending.  He was impressive and I have always considered him a hero.  I also admire Krugmen and his skill of simplifying economics for the average person to understand.  We should also give Ms. C. Richards credit for the work she does informing the public. Democrats are not one sided flat earth persons, so there will be many more ideas and outside leadership then a well paid sock puppet.  Norquist's power came from money that he could give out to GOP politicians from the oligarchy shopping for their own version of government. These younger voters see through that.  


    So glad to hear about the change in SW Florida.  How I wish I could say the same about Upper Michigan boonies.  We Democrats are few and far between.  We liberals even rarer.

    You're right--there are quite a few spokesmen/women for the 47%, if only we could get our leaders to listen to them.  And the press outside of MSNBC/Current.  That would be good, too.

      Eisenhower did everything he could to rescue the French army in Vietnam, short of sending Americans to fight. We were paying over half the cost of the French war.

     If  Kellior thinks the 1950s were so decent, he should google  McCarthyism and Jim Crow, among other things.

    I watched the McCarthy hearings live on our little black and white, as did millions of other people.  It was a terrible stain on our country, as was the treatment of negroes, especially in the south.  But unions in the north were strong, and wages were right up there, making the middle class the strongest we've ever been. 

    We worried about A-bombs and H-bombs, too. But you know what we didn't worry about?  We didn't worry about the destruction of two entire classes in our society at the hands of the greedy and the powerful.  We didn't have to worry about whether health costs would bankrupt us, whether we would lose our homes, whether two incomes wouldn't be enough (one was enough, actually), whether private interests would take over public education or whether one party's elected leaders would sell us out.

    Know why we didn't have to worry about it?  Because we worked hard to keep regulations in place, our constitution workable, and the bastards in their places and out of our lives.

    We also kept our jobs in this country and we understood the value of making things.

    Perfect?  No such thing.  But there were things about that generation that look pretty good now.

    And, fella, neither Keillor nor I have to Google any of those things.  We were there.

       Since they didn't have Medicare and Medicaid back then, let alone socialized medicine, I find it hard to believe that no one had to worry about being bankrupted by medical bills. In the mid-fifties a fifth of the population lived in poverty; today it's one- seventh.  Kellior was there, but he must have a poor memory if he thinks the age of McCarthyism and Jim Crow was more decent than today.

    Well, Aaron, I had my first child in 1957.  We had no health insurance.  Our hospital bill was $153 for a three-day stay and the doctor bill was $90.  My husband made $8400 that year and we felt pretty darned good about being that rich.  I was lucky enough to be able to stay home and care for my child.  Our son came along two years later.  Again, no insurance, but we could make payments to both the doctor and the hospital throughout my pregnancy and when the time came we were all paid up.

    Now, I'm sure you've read about all the bad things that happened in the 1950s, and yes, there were plenty, but I defy you to come up with some honest research that shows life is better for poor and middle class families now than it was then.  One look at wage disparities should convince you, but if it doesn't, I'll be waiting to see what you come up with.


    That's pretty shocking. To even pay for health insurance that will cover a pregnancy is probably $12000 minimum per year, which is $1400 in 1955 dollars. Which means 6x the cost of your birth paid every year.

    A couple links summarizing the situation:



        Well, I'm interested to learn that you didn't need any insurance when you had your kid. But I still have to ask how many sick people back then didn't need insurance. They must have created Medicare and Medicaid for a reason.

      The government  didn't then have the same callousness towards the poor as it developed later, but I stand by the contention that the fifties weren't more decent than today. McCarthyism, Jim Crow, more sexism, and much less dissent regarding dirty deeds overseas. ( I know that isn't a real sentence).

      I forgot to say more homophobia.

    There are many factors in how our government's approach to poverty has unfolded over the years, but if one looks at this graph from Visualizing Economics, one can see that in the 1950s, government was overseeing a country in which most people were either poor or just above poverty.

    The prosperity that we have come to know began to emerge at this time with the post-WWII boom, but the average American, and hence the average voter, was still someone who had some intimacy with poverty. 

      This should perhaps have been a reply to Ramona, since she is the one who says we were more prosperous back then(at least she said the middle class and the poor had it better than now)

    In part I was responding to the comment about the government being more attuned to the the poor back then - and was pointing out that was in part because the "poor" and near poor were a much larger voting bloc back then. 

    As part of the general thread, I would say that while compared in absolute terms, we are more prosperous on average than we were back then.  On the other hand, as the graph shows, when people in 1960 looked back over a decade or so, they were relatively more prosperous and on the way up.  Today we have stagnant if not declining income and so we see our selves relatively worse off than we were with things getting worse. 

    I would add that going to the hospital back in the fifties while cheaper also was less effective in battling serious ailments.  There were many "machines that go bing" so to speak, medicines were few, etc.  The improvements in health care have come with a price tag.

    I answered you based on your questioning how people could live back then without health insurance.  I gave you an example.  I didn't say people didn't need insurance, only that we didn't have it when our children were born and we managed without hardship.

    I also said it would be a rare thing for anyone to have to declare bankruptcy because of staggering health care costs. 

    This from Wendell Potter:

    A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States were the result of medical debt, up from just eight percent as recently as 1981. One of the most surprising findings: less than a fourth of the debtors who filed for bankruptcy were uninsured.

    "Most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations," the researchers wrote. "Three quarters had health insurance."

    The problem is that more and more of us are finding ourselves in the ranks of the underinsured. The Commonwealth Fund reported last year that the number of underinsured adults is skyrocketing, rising by 80 percent between 2003 and 2010, to more than 29 million.

    Keillor (not me) used the term "a degree of decency" to strengthen his argument that things got done that helped most of our citizens.  Your examples of societal unrest in the 50s may be historically accurate but really have nothing to do with the argument that "something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party."   I don't think anyone would really attempt to plop the "decency" handle on them.  Not anyone who had been watching closely for a few decades now.

    There's no question that there was a post-war boom.  I don't know what Trope means by "most people were poor or just above poverty".  I'm not seeing that on his graph.  I see the post-war incomes on the rise.  Prosperity.

    Every era has it's good, bad and ugly.  Almost every grouping takes it's turn at being the victims of some form of harm derived from bigotry and injustice in any society. 

    In decades of yesteryears, healthcare access and quality was a different type of entity.  Some argue it was the greed and corruption of the insurance companies that created the current healthcare disaster, but the truth I believe is as Ramona so wisely and succinctly stated:  

     Know why we didn't have to worry about it? Because we worked hard to keep regulations in place, our constitution workable, and the bastards in their places and out of our lives.'

    I'm drawing a blank here as well.  I guess it's somewhat difficult for Democrats, as supporters of a vibrant, well-intentioned and useful government, to even come up with Norquistian ultimatums.  I'm not a typical Democrat, but I have some trouble figuring out just what kind of pledge I'd event try to extract from our party.  It's easier when all you want out of life is to not pay taxes.

    How about a pledge to vote for a tax on bumper stickers.

    When things are really bad I wish, deep down inside, that I was Grover!

    Grove wins every time.

    Grover has the backing of every single CEO on Wall Street.

    How can he ever lose?

    People will buy anything that is sold properly.

    People will buy shamwows and snuggies and knife packages and rubber balloons that help you exercise and Richard Nixon.

    I mean people will buy anything with the proper amount of propaganda.

    It was fun this year; watching the election returns; watching these casino bastards who represent nothing that is familial lose after spending hundreds of millions of dollars.

    But 'we' only won because President Obama procured five and ten dollar contributions from the peasants per technology.

    Repubs lost votes in the House but won on gerrymandering; something developed by dems a hundred and more years ago.

    There is no truth.

    The repubs believe that there is no truth and we all wish to make as money as possible without being caught. And anyone who believes otherwise is a hypocrite. 

    The dems wish to be re-elected even though half of the dems believe in nothing.

    I watch Sherrod Brown today on MSNBC. He has a voice there.

    Brown really really really believes. As I think Barry really believes.

    And so I love him and I would vote for anything he ever decides to run for.

    But there are so few Sherrod Browns.

    I have no idea how he was re-elected.

    But he gives me faith.

    And faith usually fails me every damn time.


    the end


    Am I the only one who thinks of this fellow

    The real Grover

    every time Norquist is mentioned?

    I KNOW!

    He is such a F*&K!


    I mean Grover, not Grover of course!


    I'm a huge Sherrod Brown fan, too.  And his wife, Connie Schultz.  The shame of it is that he might well have lost if not for the little peabrain he was running against.  Josh Mandel may have been the worst candidate ever, if not for Todd Aiken and some of those others whose names I've already forgotten.

    This is him evading questions about the auto bailout.  Hilarious!  What an amateur.

    A man with eternal larynges.


    Sherrod could be making ten million bucks a year! hahahaha

    He was 'supposed' to lose according to pudge luntz and other propagandists and our Prez won the damn state and so did Sherrod!

    I have told you before that I am so surprised when the 'good' wins out!hhahaha

    We need as many amateurs in the repub party as we can find.


    And ya know what?

    Brown never changed his message as far as I know and he broke every rule!

    That is why I love the guy. Out spent by millions.

    I really think we need a woman in the next election but damn; if Sherrod were the vice-presidential nominee or the Presidential nominee with a female VP...well that would be fine with me.

    He never hesitates on those MSM appearances; he never apologizes for his inner beliefs...

    But I am ranting again. hahahahah

    the end



    Sherrod for Prez.  I like it! 

    Of course, Hillary needs her chance, but if Hillary runs he would make a grand Veep, and later, a great president. 

    (I'm not forgetting about our pal, Joe Biden.  I just don't think he could win.  I think Hillary/Sherrod just might.  (Lots of people hate them both.  That can only be good.)

    I couldn't give as much money this election as last.  But every time I clicked to give a few bucks to Sherrod I took a special pleasure in knowing I was among the many telling Karl Rove to stick it, that he wasn't going to buy this seat.

    I love Brown, I have already on several occasions noted that bias.

    But damn, it was something to see Karl sink into the sands right on air. 


    FOX has even said goodbye to him for awhile. hahahahah


    FOX has even said goodbye to him for awhile. hahahahah

    Yeah, really:

    "Uh..., take five, Karl."

    "I'll be outside if you need me."

    "Uh, Karl, we mean five months.  Like, say, to soak your head in a bathtub with Grover running the water for you.  Or whatever clears your head."


    Dreamer, I have to render unto you, the Dayly Comment of the Day Award for this here Dagblog Site, given to all of you from all of me.

    I mean, you are on a roll!


    The amount of money they spent lost to unseat him is staggering.  And he won, anyway.  It's glorious! 

    It seemed as though 80% of the emails I got from his campaign asking me for money mentioned Rove trying to bring him down in the subject line.  Ha.  Sure worked to get my attention.  (AD visualizes Grover and Rove marooned by themselves on a remote Pacific Island, or maybe out in space, richly deserving one another.)

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