Tags: Scarborough | Norquist | taxes | pledge

Scarborough: Grover Not Over Until Americans Want Higher Taxes

By Stephen Feller   |   Tuesday, 27 Nov 2012 02:00 PM

Joe Scarborough on Tuesday rebutted a New York Times column claiming Grover Norquist is “fading fast” by pointing out that Americans are not begging for higher taxes.

The former Florida congressman said Norquist’s power comes from elected officials whose constituents want lower taxes and from the media, which gives the anti-tax activist a platform to speak from — not simply from the pledge against raising taxes that many members of Congress have signed.

“This is all anti-tax theology,” Scarborough said on his MSNBC show Morning Joe. “The second people stop thinking that raising taxes is bad, then Grover may go. "

Watch Joe Scarborough talk about Grover Norquist. Story continues below.

Republicans who vote to raise taxes will "pay a price that is completely divorced from Grover Norquist. They will pay a price in their district with people there who are against higher taxes,” Scarborough added.

Frank Bruni’s column Monday in the Times posited that Norquist’s pledge has reached the end of its power over Republicans who oppose raising taxes because prominent elected members of the party have said publicly that they would violate the pledge and vote only on what they thought would best benefit the country.

Editor's Note: Use This Single Loophole to Pay Zero Taxes. See Video

“It’s as if some spell has at long last been broken, and the formerly bewitched villagers are rising up to defy their evil overlord and insist on the possibility of life and even mirth without a deduction for corporate jets,” Bruni wrote.

Scarborough and Politico Executive Editor Jim VandeHei, as well as others on the show’s panel, agreed that Norquist is like any other lobbyist who is working to promote a single issue with senators and representatives in Congress who agree with him.

“He’s not the NRA,” VandeHei said. “He does not have an activist base that’s therefore going to put the kind of pressure that the NRA can put on people when it comes to gun issues. His power comes from [the fact that] we all write about him, we all talk about him and he’s the anti-tax guy.”

Republicans don’t fear Norquist, Scarborough said, but rather worry about constituents who voted for them because of their stance on not raising taxes.

The pledge against raising taxes, which Norquist has been asking every candidate for national office to sign since 1986, is something they can hold up to show their dedication to the issue.

Scarborough added that Norquist’s power to spread his message among the electorate comes almost entirely from the media, who both build up the power he does not have and then tear him down, as they have in the last week during negotiations about government revenue and the fiscal cliff heat up.

“Do Americans think that the problem in Washington is that taxes are just too damn low?” Scarborough asked rhetorically. “As long as people write about him, or let him go on TV and say what he says, then other people in the media will have their straw man. Then they can set him up and knock him down, and forget the millions and millions of Americans who think that they are over-taxed, over-regulated and over-controlled by a centralized state that is growing like kudzu on a north Georgia highway.”

Editor's Note: Use This Single Loophole to Pay Zero Taxes. See Video

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