June 10, 2007
Since Grover Norquist was kind enough to call me yesterday, asking me to vote for Scott Sayre, I thought I would scour my archives and find out when I began to express worries about his malign influence in the Republican Party. Why should you care who Grover Norquist is? Well, he is the leader of Americans for Tax Reform, the organization that has been planning to defeat state Senator Emmett Hanger ever since the mid-2004 tax compromise. They have pumped lots of money and resources into the Sayre campaign, and I think it is safe to surmise that Sayre would never have been a candidate had they not recruited him. Norquist's ATR is the central nexus of power in the movement to unseat any Republicans who refuse to bend to their demands on tax cuts, though a variety of spin-off organizations do more of the work at the state and local level. I should state at the outset that one of the first things that really impressed me about Emmett Hanger was his awareness of what Norquist was doing in Washington and in state governments.
I noted on Aug. 4, 2004, "Grover Norquist has been defending a Saudi financial supporter who has proclaimed sympathy with the cause of the terrorists."
Upon the occasion of the second Bush inaugural festitivites, in January 2005 I wrote:
Also present at that forum was Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist who has earned a reputation as a political bruiser in Washington. Norquist emphasized the goal of enabling individual Americans to achieve their own financial freedom, as part of the vision of an "ownership society." Thomas noted that Norquist seems not to care whether the Social Security system goes belly up, and Norquist didn't try to deny it. My sense is that Norquist's focus on tax cutting blinds him to the urgency of other structural reforms, such as tort liability.
On Mar. 30, 2005, I identified Norquist as one of the "rogues in the GOP," along with Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay. Those three men were the core group of Republicans who favored hardball tactics and dirty dealing to get their way in Washington. Of the three, only Norquist remains in power. On May 10 of that year, I warned that Norquist's arrogant hubris (e.g., mocking the Democrats as "neutered" farm animals) might "end up ruining the Republicans' ability to govern effectively as a majority party." Indeed, it did.
On the other hand, Norquist did reach out to gay Republicans, in spite of anger from the Religious Right: see Oct. 21, 2005. For Norquist, "traditional family values" have little or no meaning; it's all about amassing power and money.
So even if Norquist is unsavory, what does that have to do with the political races in Virginia? For anyone who has been wondering from whence all of the mean-spiritedness in the Hanger-Sayre race emanated, this quote by Norquist from 2003 should clear things up:
We are trying to change the tones in the state capitals -- and turn them toward bitter nastiness and partisanship.
Bipartisanship is another name for date rape.
SOURCE: Denver Post, "Rancor becomes top D.C. export: GOP leads charge in ideological war," May 26, 2003. (Archives $$$) (Hat tip to "Cobalt 6".) Just remember, whenever you hear Sayre supporters putting down Emmett Hanger for his "get-along, go-along" approach to politics (what normal people call serious negotiations), it boils down to an excuse for even harsher rhetoric and sharper divisions in our state and country than we have experienced recently. It's the exact opposite of what we need in time of war.
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
-- Abraham Lincoln, 1858
"Teddy Roosevelt" (apparently a pseudonym ) has much more detail on the bogus mailings sent out by the Sayre campaign last week; I covered it briefly yesterday (scroll down), but I should have emphasized it more. I have seen so many dirty tricks and distortions by the Sayre campaign that I have become jaded and blase about it.
For arcane technical reasons, my RSS feed was not working for the past few days, which is why my blog posts were not showing up on Virginia blog net news. I have made a temporary fix: eliminating accented characters from the first few sentences of my recent blog posts. I should have a permanent fix by tomorrow.