Tuesday’s News Links and General Repartee


Sesame Street has taken over DC!! First, it was Romney trying to kill Big Bird, and now it’s all Grover…all the time.

No…not the lovable, cute and furry, garbage pail monster who almost never uses contractions when speaking or singing.


This Grover!…who’s getting contracted left and RIGHT when he speaks or sings.


If you don’t know who Grover Norquist is or have just recently heard of him, here’s the skinny:

Grover Norquist, a Republican and former staffer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, launched Americans for Tax Reform in 1985 to advocate for tax reforms Reagan was pushing in his second term. The group was financed largely by corporate sponsors such as Kraft, the Associated Press reported at the time.

In the midterm campaign year of 1986, Norquist rolled out the Taxpayer Protection Pledge as a way to pressure candidates to support Reagan’s tax agenda, and as a cudgel for Republicans to wield against Democrats on the campaign trail.

It reads:

I, ______, pledge to the taxpayers of the ______ district of the state of ______ and to the American people that I will:
One, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and
Two, to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates

Much has been made lately of the pledge’s allegedly diminishing influence, after House Speaker John Boehner indicated revenue increases would be on the table in fiscal-cliff talks. But Republicans who hint at pledge violations have a way of revising their statements with vague language about filling government coffers without going against the vow.

In the current Congress, 238 representatives and 41 senators have signed the Pledge.


So Republicans who just lost a pretty big election by running on no tax increases are looking at 2014 mid-terms and fearing for their political futures. With the likely scenario that they will compromise on raising tax rates in some form before the fiscal cliff, several Republican Senators are trying to get out in front of “breaking” their pledge. Hence, you’ve got Lindsey Graham (TR-9), Bob Corker (TR-95), Saxby Chambliss (TR-47) with their mugs on national TV explaining their rationales in signing this pledge before but breaking it now.


Get ready friends, this story ain’t going away. Just like Romney couldn’t kill Big Bird, Republicans can’t kill Grover…at least not till the fiscal cliff is over.

Frank Bruni in the NYT says he rode on a train with Norquist this year and this is all for show.

Eugene Robinson from RCP has a more sensible analysis of why Republicans are breaking Norquist’s Oath.

The WSJ says Norquist wasn’t and isn’t the problem. In fact, he’s part of the solution because no matter what the impending fiscal cliff compromise will look like, at least his tax pledge restrained the tax hike.




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