As far as political personalities who hold no public office or have a job at a media association go, none seems to have skyrocketed to newfound popularity the way ’90s staple and Americans for Tax Reform head Grover Norquist has during the debt crisis debate. With only thirteen Republicans refusing to sign his anti-tax pledge during this round of budget debate, former Sen. Alan Simpson told Lawrence O’Donnell tonight that it’s time to “peel all the layers of the onion” and figure out just why people seem to listen to intently to Norquist.
In an interview on The Last Word tonight, Simpson noted that Norquist had challenged Republican Sen. Tom Coburn on a $6 billion cut on ethanol subsidies he had called “tax increases,” which incensed Simpson greatly. “Grover and his happy band of warriors are trying to call that a tax increase– that’s a damn lie and he knows it,” he told O’Donnell. “And if he can get away with that, elect him President.”
Simpson continued to question Norquist’s power throughout the segment, arguing that “he can’t kill you, he can’t burn your house, he can defeat you in reelection,” and if a public servant thought the latter was enough to obey him, they didn’t deserve the spot. He also told O’Donnell several times that “if Grover Norquist is more powerful than the President of the United States and the Congress, he should run for President,” leaving open-ended the question of why he hadn’t pursued public office.
On that note, Simpson called for an investigation. “Grover Norquist should be examined into– where does he get his money?” In times where people amass so much power, he argues, it becomes necessary to “peel all the layers of the onion.” “Anytime anyone gets this powerful,” he argued, “you want to dig in… who is he slave to?”
He clarified that he did not mean “salacious stuff and his personal life,” but how Americans for Tax Reform operated and why so many people in Congress feared him, because based only on his status as leader of an anti-tax group, “you must be chicken if you fall for that crap.”
The segment via MSNBC below:
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