Two years ago, the man who swore he wanted government to be so small it could be “drowned in a bathtub” was the most powerful, formidable force to conservatives in Washington.
Today, he’s being referred to by the Republican Speaker of the House as “some random person.”
Asked if he believed that Grover Norquist, powerhouse GOP influencer and president of Americans for Tax Reform, was a “positive influence” on the House Republicans, John Boehner simply replied with a shrug.
“Listen, our focus here is on jobs,” Boehner said at last. “We’re doing everything we can to get our economy moving again and to get people back to work. It’s not often I’m asked about some random person in America.”
Asked whether he genuinely believed Norquist was a “random person” to members of his conference, Boehner replied, “Listen, our focus is on creating jobs, not talking about somebody’s personality.”
Of course, that “random person” is also the creator of the anti-tax pledge that a vast majority of those same House members signed in order to get into public office. In fact, only 6 Republican members in each chamber and one Republican presidential nominee (Jon Huntsman) haven’t signed his anti-tax pledge.
In fact, both parties agree that Norquist isn’t just “some random person” with no influence over the GOP. “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this week declared Norquist the GOP ‘leader’ and Republican lawmakers his puppets. Former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson told the so-called supercommittee this week that ‘if Grover Norquist is now the most powerful man in America, he should run for president…. There’s no question about his power. And let me tell you, he has people in thrall. That’s a terrible phrase. Lincoln used it. It means your mind has been captured. You’re in bondage with your soul.’”
But Norquist himself agrees that he’s not that big of a deal. “‘Reid is trying to make me important. I suppose it’s sort of flattering but it’s silly,’ Mr. Norquist said. ‘The pledge is between elected representatives and their constituents. Boehner’s right and Reid is wrong.’”
I guess that settles that.
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