Grover Norquist brushed off assertions that Republican lawmakers are jumping ship from his Americans for Tax Reform pledge to never raise taxes.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) recently came out against the pledge, and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) had similar things to say about the pledge.
“I agree entirely with Saxby Chambliss,” King said. “A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress. For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed — supported a declaration of war against Japan. I’m not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed.”
Norquist said this morning on CNN that an assertion like King’s “doesn’t pass the laugh test” and his pledge is actually for the entire length of time one serves on the Hill, not just for one Congress.
“The two senators and the congressman that were put forward, they all said that two years ago when we were arguing over the debt ceiling limit. So, their position hasn’t changed. And during the debt ceiling limit, we cut spending, we didn’t raise taxes,” he said. “So other Republicans did not listen to Peter King or these others and say, oh, let’s go raise taxes. They’re speaking for themselves.”
“Chambliss had a blow-up of it four feet by five feet on his campaign headquarters when he ran his campaign,” Norquist added of the pledge.
He stressed that those who break the pledge, even in fiscal cliff negotiations, would face the music not from his group but from voters.
“Look, George Herbert Walker Bush broke his commitment to the American people. I don’t think the Americans for Tax Reform even put out a press release,” Norquist said. “Somehow the American people figured out that he’d broken his commitment to them and he couldn’t get 38 percent of the vote when he ran in a general. He didn’t lose in a primary. He lost in a general election.”
“We would certainly highlight who has kept their commitment and who hasn’t. But the point is historically the people who lose do so because the people in their state have figured that out.”
Norquist advocated that the fiscal cliff negotiations be broadcast in the open on C-SPAN.
“When it’s finished, when it’s decided, write it down. Put it online for seven days. So the American people can read it,” he said. “Don’t TARP us again. Don’t rush us and say, sign this, sign this. It’s really good. Let the American people read it.”