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Tags: Trump Administration | George W. Bush | Jeb Bush | Jeb Bush | tax pledge | Grover Norquist | George H.W. Bush

Grover Norquist: W Learned From Dad's Tax Goof — Will Jeb?

Grover Norquist: W Learned From Dad's Tax Goof — Will Jeb?
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 19 March 2015 10:36 AM

There is still bad blood between anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and the Bush family, but he expects that, at the end of the day, potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush will end up promising voters not to raise taxes.

"Jeb Bush, when he hears, 'will you take the pledge?' he thinks the question is, 'do you love your father?'" Norquist told The Daily Beast. "He thinks this is referring to dad's mistake."

Norquist's anti-tax pledge is a powerful tool, with some 88 percent of House and Senate Republicans taking it, as well as 12 governors.

The tension between Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform, and the Bushes began back in the 1980s, when Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, famously uttered the phrase: "Read my lips. No new taxes," and then ended up admitting taxes would need to be raised to reach a budget compromise.

Norquist, early in 1990, had initially been loyal to the elder Bush, reports The Daily Beast. But after the president broke his promise, Norquist publicly slammed him in an article in the conservative American Spectator publication, calling him a "failure as a party leader," and terming his 1992 presidential campaign "embarrassing."

Bush, though, shot back at Norquist in a Parade Magazine interview in 2012.

"The rigidity of those pledges is something that I don't like," he told Parade. "You know, the circumstances change and you can't be wedded to some formula by Grover Norquist … who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?" 

And Norquist fired back at the elder Bush.

"Asked to talk about anything in the world, he pipes up with, 'who the hell is Grover Norquist'? … Uh, I've never blurted out his name in the middle of the night," he said. "There is a sensitivity there."

Moving forward, Bush's son Jeb is already putting his foot down about not signing Norquist's tax pledge.

"If Gov. Bush decides to move forward, he will not sign any pledges circulated by lobbying groups," said Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell earlier this year. "His record on tax cuts is clear. He didn't raise taxes. He cut them every year as governor for a total of more than $19 billion in tax relief.

"He does not support raising taxes, and believes cutting taxes and reforming the tax code will lead to greater economic growth and more prosperity for Americans."

The elder Bush has said his decision to raise taxes remained one of the biggest regrets of his campaign, but his son said as recently as three years ago that the compromise was necessary, as it created "the spending restraint of the '90s," The Daily Beast reports.

Further, the former Florida governor told the House Budget Committee in 2012 that he is willing to trade off tax increases for spending cuts.  

During that same hearing, Bush told lawmakers that he respects Norquist's political involvement, but that he's never signed his pledge, even though he was given the opportunity to sign it three times while he was running for governor.

Still, Norquist expects Bush to make an anti-tax promise, just like his brother, then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, did. In 1999, one of  the governor's spokespeople said he would not sign Norquist's pledge, but a day later, he signed a letter saying he would not raise taxes.

And Norquist thinks Jeb Bush will do the same, because he's a "smart man" who will make the decision not to raise taxes.

"The smart move will be, and Jeb is a smart man, will be to move to a zone where he says … 'I'm not filling out a commitment to any group, but let me promise you, the voters, I'm not raising taxes,' " Norquist told The Daily Beast. "It need not be [personal] because the way you honor your father is to learn from the mistakes, and this is exactly what his brother [George W. Bush] did."

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Politics
There is still bad blood between anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and the Bush family, but he expects at the end of the day, potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush will end up promising voters not to raise taxes.
Jeb Bush, tax pledge, Grover Norquist, George H.W. Bush
649
2015-36-19
Thursday, 19 March 2015 10:36 AM
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