Who is Grover Norquist? The anti-tax personality has seemingly blown up into a Republican superstar/Democratic bogeyman out of nowhere, as some members of the committee blame his organization, Americans for Tax Reform, and the pledge many Republicans signed not to raise taxes for the committee’s failure. Norquist appeared on The Situation Room today in response to the super-committee’s failure and his alleged role in the affair, which he couldn’t help but call “sort of funny.”
Host Wolf Blitzer immediately held Norquist responsible, half in jest, noting that Democrats “blame you for this” and asking whether the fact that he is considered extremely influential bothers him or not. Norquist replied that the Democrats want to raise taxes, but instead of being forthright with that, “Reid and Obama and the other Democrat want to blame me, which is sort of funny.” He clarified the the pledge that many blame for keeping Republicans from negotiating was “to the American people” and not to him, and while “we share it with people,” it was not something that made members of Congress directly accountable to him personally.
“A lot of them were saying privately ‘we cant raise taxes, we’re nervous that Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform will come after us,'” Blitzer noted, though Norquist insisted, again, “they don’t have to worry about me coming after them. They’d have to answer to their constituents, to the people in their state.” Asked if American for Tax Reform would target any Republican that steps out of line, Norquist replied, “I wouldn’t have to.”
As for the tax increases to the wealthiest that Democrats proposed, Norquist argued they were actually “trickle-down taxes” that hurt the lower classes, and particular ones like a “tax to pay for the Spanish-American War” and the cigarette tax as particularly problematic. The latter he noted particularly was a “tax on lower-income Americans.” He concluded optimistically that the super committee “didn’t fail” because the spending would be cut through a future sequester.
The interview via CNN below:
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