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SMUS: Who Died And Made Grover Norquist Elvis?

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BY WILLIAM C. HENRY Given our national penchant for Idols, Survivors, and less than three men, I think it’s safe to say that 99 out of 100 Americans would tell you they’ve never even heard of Grover Norquist. Yet, he continues to function as the most powerful and influential Republican party puppet master inside and outside of Washington today. Whenever Grover’s around, the poor and the middle class brace for the worst, while the wealthy and powerful reach for their wallets and beg for his favor. With Grover, conning the American people isn’t just a calling, it’s an essential component of his tax-cuts-’till-the-cows-come-home brand of uber-Libertarianism.

Remember Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbying cheat who’s now behind bars? Well, jolly old Grove was his chief pigeon hunter Grover_Noquist_by_DONKEY_HOTEY.jpgand money launderer. All things illegal and illicit considered, however, such mischief was mere training wheels for the trip to his most prized position: Most Powerful Republican In America. First, a little background. In 1985, at Ronald Reagan’s behest, Norquist formed a soon to become altogether odious organization dubbed Americans for Tax Reform with the clear-cut goal of eradicating taxes from the face of the land. He later closely allied himself and the ATR with the Koch brothers and their chief corporate corruption arm, the American Legislative Exchange Council. Although there is much to disparage about Mr. Norquist, his main claim to ignominy stems from a dandy little under-publicized shakedown scheme he dreamed up. Using the barely-veiled threat of withdrawal (or transfer to a challenger) of key campaign financial support, he has managed to coerce practically every Republican politician on the planet into signing what’s called the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. It states that those whose signatures appear thereon swear to never ever initiate or acquiesce in the imposition of new taxes–under any circumstances, for any purpose whatsoever. And he unabashedly holds the signed copy(s) in his safe as ransom should any of the kowtowers exhibit so much as a bend or a buckle in their avowed intransigence towards raising revenue to close budget deficit gaps and shrink the runaway national debt. Most of us common folk call it blackmail.

But the ATR and the “oath” aren’t the only crime scenes where Norquist has left his bloody fingerprints. From the failed Republican Revolution (its main behind-the-scenes banner bearer) to the lie-filled Contract With America (one of its principal scripters)–and twice to the brink of the nation’s collapse–this anathema has left behind his crimson calling card. Add to that his influence and hands-on assistance to “dubya” in pushing through (and vehemently continuing to support) the unconscionable tax cuts for the wealthy which exploded the nation’s debt and continue to cripple its recovery, plus currently lending his full weight and powers of coercion to defeating Obama’s American Jobs Act, and you have a civil governance devastator even Attila the Hun could envy. It’s been a thirty-year monomaniacal “mission of greed” aimed at returning the country to the days of the robber barons, and Grover’s been merrily mouthing Hitler’s sinister little ditty, “Join with me or let it be, or we will bash your head in 1,2,3!,” all along the way.

Who would have believed that an altogether unimposing, tunnel-visioned, Ayn Rand wannabe would have been able to turn himself into one of the most feared and fawned over plutocrats on the American political landscape; in his own right, a sort of 21st century Joseph McCarthy. Who would have imagined that a close-minded (“When I became 21, I decided that nobody learned anything about politics after the age of 21.”), mollycoddled (daddy was vice president of Polaroid Corporation, put him through Harvard, and passed along his fortune), never-been-elected-to-anything who brags that the whole of his political philosophy can be condensed into ”I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the tub,” would be able to browbeat practically the entire elected Republican establishment–as well as a number of Democrats running in Republican districts–into literally “signing away” their solemn duty and obligation to those they were chosen to represent. It is, without question, one of the most deceitfully duplicitous and cowardly violations of trust ever perpetrated against the American people.

And so, Tea Party patrons and aspiring plutocrats everywhere, I give you your de facto leader, a fearmonger nonpareil, a wealthfare apologist without parallel, a confidence-man extraordinaire, and the unchallenged champion of all things WRONG with American politics, the very deeply dishonorable, Mr. Grover Norquist. What a guy! Oh, did I mention that he was once rather jokingly proposed the following dilemma by Stephen Colbert: What if all of America’s grandmothers were being held hostage and threatened with being devoured by fire ants, and all that had to be done to secure their release was for you to agree to raise the marginal tax rates on the top 2% of American money earners? Without hesitation Grover responded, “I think we console ourselves with the fact that we have pictures.” Only Grover wasn’t joking.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.

1,784 = The number of Americans killed in action in Afghanistan.
13,011 = The number of Americans  wounded in Afghanistan.
0 = The number of financial industry kingpins indicted for having committed the most massive FRAUD in American history and wrecking the global economy, plunging untold millions into lives of misery and deprivation.

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