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Norquist: Tea Party 'Infinitely' Important to GOP

By David A. Patten   |   Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 12:50 PM

Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist is praising the tea parties for “completing the Reagan revolution,” and credits their activism for making the GOP “infinitely stronger.”

Speaking in an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview, the anti-tax leader dispelled any notion that his recent criticism of the shutdown strategy of Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz was intended as a broader critique of the overall grass-roots conservative movement.

“My argument was that Ted Cruz, in particular, came to the House Republicans and said he had a strategy to abolish Obamacare,” said Norquist. “But he didn't have a strategy, because you need 51 votes in the Senate to do anything and we never had anywhere close to 51 votes -- and Sen. Cruz didn't get any.”

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Norquist has stated Cruz owes his party an apology for “dragging it across broken glass” during the shutdown. In order to prevail on the shutdown, Cruz had to have several Democrats to cross the aisle.

“So he needed to say to the Republicans in the House, ‘Sorry, I misled you about what I was going to do in the Senate.’ He didn't get the votes that he told people he was going to get. And it's not fair to demand that people go out and participate in your strategy if you haven't thought it through,” said Norquist.

As for tea party activists, Norquist credited them with playing a key role in restoring a modicum of spending discipline after the Bush-era deficits, and following the even greater deficits racked up by the Obama administration.

The tea parties, Norquist said, “came in and gently, like a 2-by-4 on the side of the Republican Party's forehead, said, ‘Hey, hey, listen to us. Stop spending so much. Don't raise taxes. Stop spending too much.’ It has made the conservative movement and the modern Reagan Republican Party infinitely stronger.”

In the exclusive Newsmax.TV interview, Norquist went on to blast as “nonsense” any suggestion that the tea party has hurt the GOP or conservative causes.

“The tea party is what completed the Reagan revolution: no tax increases, limiting spending,” he said. “My unhappiness over the last two months is, we got distracted trying to pass something that's a good idea -- we should abolish Obamacare -- but we didn't have the votes for it. And so we spent two months failing to do things we could have done to weaken this, and delay Obamacare, and ended up with nothing because the strategy wasn't thought through.”

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Norquist added that Republicans have “real opportunities” to seize control of the U.S. Senate in 2014.

“Then at some point in 2016, we need to remember to win the presidency,” he quipped. “I'd hoped we'd do that in 2012. It was on our list of things to do: take out the trash, pick up the groceries, win the presidency.

“And we remembered two out of the three,” he said. “This time, we need to remember: Win the presidency. It's part of governing.”

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