Tags: Republicans | House

Norquist: GOP Can Retake House

Thursday, 25 Jun 2009 04:06 PM

By Ronald Kessler

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Republicans have a “very good shot” at winning back a majority of seats in the House of Representatives, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reforms, tells Newsmax.

Norquist points out that 49 seats in the House are held by Democrats whose districts voted for John McCain for president. Voters in those districts were saying in effect, “I really want to elect a Republican Congress, but you just didn’t offer me somebody that was impressive enough, or the Democrat convinced me he wasn’t really a liberal,” Norquist says.

Now that President Barack Obama has demonstrated how liberal Democrats really are, “There are very few of them that can with a straight face tell you that they’re moderate,” Norquist says. “They’re not.”

See Video: Grover Norquist talks to Newsmax.TV about the Republicans' chances of retaking the House — Click Here Now.

Norquist is a top leader of the conservative movement. At his invitation-only, off-the-record Wednesday meetings, about150 leaders of conservative interest groups gather to exchange the latest intelligence on politics, strategy, and issues, and to listen to presentations by members of Congress, congressional staffers, political candidates, pollsters, and authors.

Taking back the House is the key to stopping the financial damage Obama and the Democrats are inflicting on the country, Norquist says in a wide-ranging interview about how politics works in Washington. Presently, of the 435 seats in the House, Democrats hold 256 and Republicans hold 178. One seat is vacant.

Contrary to popular impression, Congress, not Obama, is running Washington, Norquist says.

“Obama is the front man, the guy who makes the sales pitch, the guy on TV, the pleasant fellow who says, Let’s be for good stuff. Let’s be for healthcare reform,” Norquist says. “What’s in healthcare reform will be written by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. If legislation in Washington was a martini, Obama’s the vermouth — barely there.”

As an example, Obama had almost no impact on the “almost-trillion dollar spending spree that they called a stimulus package,” Norquist says. “That was a bunch of earmarks that people in the House and Senate had wanted to get enacted for decades.”

Liberal Democrats “made their list and they stacked them together on top of each other until you had almost a trillion dollars in spending, and they told Obama to sign the thing,” Norquist states.

Instead of helping the economy, the stimulus bill is wasting money on projects that no one wanted to fund.

“Things that were really needed two years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, they’ve been done,” Norquist says. “So everything in the stimulus package had been rejected by every mayor, every town official, the state legislature, the governor, the federal government, the appropriators, the Bill Gates philanthropists of the world — everybody had looked at that project and said not worth doing. And the stimulus package said, that’s OK, we’ll do it. The taxpayers will pay for it.”

It will take time to undo the damage inflicted by Democrats in Congress, Norquist says.

“They’ve racked up trillions in debt that we’ll all be paying off, and our kids, and our kids’ kids will be paying off,” he says. “But we can reduce that damage in the future if we get a Republican House that says no to government-run health care, no to cap-and-trade taxes that raise everyone’s energy costs, no to weakening our defenses to the point where it becomes increasingly dangerous.”

In retaking the majority, “I think it’s very important for the modern conservative movement, the center right movement, the Reagan Republican movement to make it clear that we are open to all groups in America, that every religious group, every ethnic group, every racial group, would benefit from a freer and more open society,” Norquist says.

He notes that some of the rhetoric during the immigration debate came across as “hurtful or hostile to other people.” Obtaining votes is like selling any product, Norquist says. In business, the customer is always right.

“You don’t win by saying ‘well I have the best product, and if you’re too stupid to see that, well then you can’t have any of it,’ ” Norquist says. “It is our job to explain to the person who owns the vote why their vote should go to us. And if they hear that we don’t like them and respect them, then we don’t get their votes. So you may not think you said something insulting and mean, but you’re not in charge of how you’re heard. The voters, the customer, they’re in charge of how they hear you. And if they hear disrespect or hostility, then that’s what you said. That’s what happened [in the last election].”

Turning to potential Republican presidential candidates, Norquist says, “I’ll give you two descriptions of the Republican who will win the nomination and can win the presidency: Somebody who’s focused on fighting against spending too much money, a governor probably most likely, somebody who’s said I know what spending is, and I’m going to fight it. And two, somebody who plays team ball, somebody who’s not just about electing themselves but who’s been out campaigning in 2010 for Republican House members and senators and governors.”

Norquist mentions governors Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Sarah Palin of Alaska, Rick Perry of Texas, and Mitch Daniels of Indiana.

“Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney aren’t in the position to rein in spending now, because they’re not in office, but they could go out and elect a lot of Republican congressmen, senators and governors and demonstrate their leadership that way,” Norquist concludes.

See Video: Grover Norquist talks to Newsmax.TV about the Republicans' chances of retaking the House — Click Here Now.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
e-mail. Go here now.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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