Tags: Grover | Norquist | tax | pledge

Columnist: Norquist May Be Losing Grasp on GOP Politicians

Sunday, 25 Nov 2012 12:31 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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For years, GOP candidates running for Congress, governor or president would sign conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist’s pledge against tax increases, but those days may be coming to an end.

Norquist, who runs the advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform, keeps the stored pledges in a vault in the organization’s Washington offices and threatens to challenge candidates who break the pledge, according to Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Thomas Fitzgerald, who says the strategy has worked for a long time.

Polls show that the public supports increasing revenue, and President Barack Obama won a decisive Electoral College vote. As a result some congressional Republicans are stepping away from the pledge.

This weekend, Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said he was dumping the pledge, telling a Macon television station he “cares more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge” he signed when he first ran for office.

Earlier this year, Chambliss also dismissed Norquist’s influence, saying "Grover Norquist has no credibility, so I don't respond to him.”

Norquist blasted back over the weekend, saying Chambliss had made a promise to Georgia voters, but the damage was done as yet one more prominent senator decided yesterday’s pledge may no longer be relevant in today’s world.

Chambliss isn’t the only Republican to publicly back away from Norquist. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio has signaled a willingness to support revenue increases and calls Norquist “some random person.”

GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona recently observed that Norquist’s power has been “broken.”

Former President George H.W. Bush is also scathing when it comes to Norquist, Fitzgerald said in his Sunday column.

"Circumstances change, and you can't be wedded to some formula by Grover Norquist," Bush has said. "It's — who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?"

However, Norquist denies that his hold isn’t working, saying Republicans won’t cave on raising taxes. But some pledge signers lost their elections and others consider the pledge too rigid.


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