Democrats are fixated on race because they are losing arguments on issues that matter to Americans, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), tells Newsmax in a video interview.
Norquist was responding to Norah O’Donnell’s suggestion on MSNBC that Newt Gingrich was engaging in racial stereotyping when he said that President Barack Obama should spend more time focusing on getting people back to work than on playing basketball.
Asked about her comment at a breakfast sponsored by American Spectator magazine and ATR, Gingrich said that the Democrats are almost parodying themselves with their fixation on race.
Asked why Democrats seem fixated on race, Norquist says in the Newsmax interview, “Because the Democrats are losing the big arguments.”
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Norquist notes that Obama and the Democrats in the House and Senate were elected after promising they would never raise taxes on most Americans. “As soon as they got into office, they started raising taxes on all Americans of all incomes,” Norquist says. “They got elected promising they wouldn’t introduce new spending bills unless they cut dollar-for-dollar old spending so that you would not increase spending. Their first week in, they spent $800 billion on pork-barrel projects.”
Thus, “because they promised one thing in getting elected and have done the opposite, they have really irritated the American people, and the reaction by the Democrats to that is to be angry with America and to . . . call middle America names, and one of the names they call them is selfish,” Norquist says.
Calling O’Donnell’s comment about Gingrich being a “racist,” Norquist says Democrats’ tendency to focus on race is “really what [liberals] do when they are out of arguments, when they are losing an argument, and it really lets you know that Obama, [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi are scraping the bottom of the barrel. They have no real arguments.”
Norquist is a pivotal leader in the conservative movement. When asked about recent comments by Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele undercutting his own party, Norquist says, “The Republican National Committee’s job is to raise money for the party. It’s not to be a spokesman. We have spokesmen in the Republican leadership of the House and Senate.”
Norquist adds, “I hope that Mr. Steele will focus on raising money and helping elect candidates and let the elected officials speak to issues.”
When asked about Sarah Palin’s success in developing a following, Norquist says: “She has several appeals. One she is obviously a genuine person. She is a serious conservative. She took on corruption in Alaska. She was sort of independent and tough and has fought for limited government in Alaska, and then nationally she was introduced.”
Palin also is endeared, Norquist says, because “the left hates her so much that it is fun to watch CBS and NBC and CNN go nuts because they are so upset that an attractive, confident woman is a Ronald Reagan conservative. The left sometimes announces that all women must think X and must be Gloria Steinem, and they are not." Norquist adds, “she upsets the left stereotypes, and I think that's one of the reasons she endears herself to average Americans.”
Norquist says Obama’s budget, which will create a deficit of $10 trillion within 10 years, “threatens to turn us into something between France and Greece, and we have seen what happens to a country like Greece that overspends the way the United States is beginning to overspend now.”
What is needed is getting the government out of making decisions on healthcare and more competition in healthcare, Norquist says.
Norquist feels public opinion has shifted: “Right now, if the elections for the House and Senate were held today, the Republicans would probably win the House and the Senate, as difficult as that seems."
He adds, “The Republicans need to pick up about 41 House seats to get a majority in the House. If the present trends continue, the Republicans will do that well — and better — in the House of Representatives.”
Norquist says Republicans “need to win 10 seats in order win the Senate. A year ago, one would have assumed that they would lose three seats. Now, they are looking to win between five and 10 or even 11 seats. It is possible for the Republicans to win the House and the Senate. I think they will take the House and, if not take the Senate, come very close to a majority in the Senate.”
Asked what Republicans should avoid, Norquist says, “They should avoid chasing after the deficit. The Democrats would like to change the conversation from spending to the deficit. Spending, there’s only one solution to spending: spend less, and the Republicans have solutions to that, and the Democrats are not part of the conversation.”
On the other hand, “If you focus on the deficit, then the Democrats are willing to raise taxes to fix the deficit, and cutting spending is one alternative of two,’” he says. “So we need to focus on the real problem, total government spending and not just the deficit.”
Asked about viable Republican presidential candidates for 2012, Norquist says. “The good news for Republicans is that they have an awful lot of real serious talent. Governor Romney, who ran before, has governed well and would be a serious candidate. Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, would be a strong national candidate, strong conservative Reagan Republican leader.”
Norquist goes on to name Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Palin, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.
“Marco Rubio, who is not even elected to the Senate yet . . . could easily run nationally,” Norquist observes.
“But,” he says, “nobody should focus on 2012 and fail to be there in 2010 and expect conservative support.”
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.
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