Republicans find their voice: turns out, it’s whiny

The New York Time interviewed some US elected officials and their boss, Grover Norquist. It’s worth a read because it’s really pretty funny:

The first dissenter:

Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah has signed a pledge never to raise taxes. He signed another pledge too, one that made it nearly impossible to vote for a bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. But right before that vote over the summer, in a meeting with scores of his Republican colleagues, he stood up and proclaimed that he would never sign another pledge.

It spreads, and goes public:

On Tuesday, Representative Frank R. Wolf, a Republican from Virginia, took to the House floor for a rare excoriation of the anti-tax activist Grover G. Norquist and his strictly worded pledge, which has been signed by almost the entire Republican caucus as well as a few Democrats.

A day later, Senator John Thune of South Dakota suggested that anti-tax pledges ought to be revisited, because they can be interpreted too broadly in closing loopholes or eliminating tax deductions. “We shouldn’t be bound by something that could be interpreted different ways if what we’re trying to accomplish is broad-based tax reform,” he said.

John Thune just got around to reading the pledge he signed, apparently. I love that he’s offered to negotiate terms, unlike the rabble-raisers in the House. Very senatorial of him. I guess he and Norquist meet, and Norquist tells the Senator from…wherever what modifications or revisions he, Norquist, will accept.

Mr. Norquist, who heads the group Americans for Tax Reform, uses his pledge, which began in 1986 with the endorsement of President Reagan, as a litmus test for candidates on taxes. Known as the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, it makes candidates and incumbents “bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases.” Hundreds of Republicans have signed it, including all six on the bipartisan Congressional deficit reduction committee.

Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who also signed it, said in an interview: “I’ve signed more pledges than I should have over the years. All of us ought to be somewhat reluctant to make these pledges. I think people who have been here longer do fewer.”

In other words, chumps sign pledges, which leads us to the Men Who Would Be President:

To be sure, the majority of Republican lawmakers are not running away from Mr. Norquist. All the Republican presidential candidates other than Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former governor of Utah, have gotten on board.

Mr. Norquist said that those who raise questions about the pledge often do not understand it. “The pledge specifically says you can eliminate tax deductions if you bring rates down at same time,” he said. “The people who say that the pledge would get in the way of tax reform, well their point is they want a tax increase.”

The pledge specifically says…can’t you just hear the snotty tone as he says that?

Since “those who are now raising questions about the pledge” are the spineless morons who signed one, Grover Norquist is telling us that conservative lawmakers, including at least one Senator, signed a pledge that they didn’t understand.

86 replies
  1. 1
    Satanicpanic says:

    This is just about laying the groundwork for raising taxes on the middle class

  2. 2
    r€nato says:

    of course they signed it, it helped them get elected. Politicians who make promises to cut, cut, cut taxes while not making the connection with a lesser availability of government services and entitlements (which might actually affect you, the voter) will win every time.

    You don’t get something for nothing, but apparently GOP voters believe we can cut taxes to nothing and it will never be them who have to put up with less police, less firemen, crappier roads, unsafe water and food, or cuts in their Social Security and Medicare.

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The first rule needs to be that assholes with trust funds (I’m looking at you, Norquist, you worthless fuck) can’t complain about taxes.

    Ever.

    When they have an income derived from wages that someone else pays to them, then they can talk.

    They are entitled assholes who don’t think they’re entitled. Getting money from the dead is most definitely an entitlement.

  4. 4
    burnspbesq says:

    If I were on the committee that picks targets for drone strikes, Grover Norquist would be on the list. He’s done more damage to this country than McVeigh, the 9/11 bombers, bin Laden, and al-Awlaki combined.

  5. 5
    kay says:

    @r€nato:

    I would have agreed with you even two years ago, but I don’t think that’s true anymore.
    I think conservatives (including some conservative Democrats) are going to have a very difficult time explaining to huge numbers of their constituents why there hasn’t been any “shared sacrifice”.

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @r€nato:

    You don’t get something for nothing, but apparently GOP voters believe we can cut taxes to nothing and it will never be them who have to put up with less police, less firemen, crappier roads, unsafe water and food, or cuts in their Social Security and Medicare.

    Reagan started selling that concept, and those of us who pointed out it was bullshit were called commies.

    I used to think that this shit can’t go on…that eventually, people will die due to this idiocy of not paying to maintain the infrastructure, and that will kill the entire notion that you can have something for nothing.

    Then the I-35 bridge collapsed, and no one paid a political price for it.

    I’m hoping the Occupy folks make a difference. Otherwise, we are fucking doomed.

  7. 7
    ChrisNYC says:

    Does anyone know where this rebellion against Norquist is coming from? Is it plain fear of voters? Just so hard to believe they have consciences/any sense of actual public mindedness.

  8. 8
    Martin says:

    Can nobody in the media ask the question: “Why are you putting your commitment to a pledge to a lobbying firm ahead of a pledge to your constituents and to the US Constitution?”

  9. 9
    singfoom says:

    The fact that any politician signs any fucking pledge is just stupid. Congress is supposed to debate the issues at hand and craft the best legislation to deal with the issues, supposedly.

    Signing any pledge indicating a refusal to take a specific type of action is just knee-capping what they can do.

    Well, if there’s any time in recent political history where the Republicans can tell Norquist to GTFO and STFU, it is now, but I doubt we’ll see a majority of them doing so…

  10. 10
    singfoom says:

    @Martin: You’re looking for actual journalism? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    Now that sir, is great comedy. Here is one internet for you.

  11. 11
    Gilles de Rais says:

    I get a chill every time I realize that we get the representation that we deserve.

  12. 12
    MarkJ says:

    @Martin: because that would be impolite.

  13. 13
    WereBear says:

    @Martin: Can nobody in the media ask the question: “Why are you putting your commitment to a pledge to a lobbying firm ahead of a pledge to your constituents and to the US Constitution?”

    At the Presidential press conference, I think it was yesterday, the FIRST question asked, by AP, was:

    Why isn’t the administration working with Republicans to get this jobs bill passed?

    Friggin’ journalism, how does it work?

  14. 14
    cleek says:

    “We shouldn’t be bound by something that could be interpreted different ways”

    tell that to the second amendment

  15. 15
    deep cap says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The I-35 bridge collapsed because it was built by Unions. DUH.

  16. 16
    kay says:

    @singfoom:

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I honestly feel as if Republicans are on defense on taxes, or close to being on defense.
    It’s the first time in my adult life.
    Honestly? I think it’s huge.
    Democrats like Schumer aren’t helping, but if liberals and (some) Democrats can maintain that shift, it takes a huge weapon away from Republicans.
    Without insane, irrational fear of taxes, they really got nothing.
    We’re winning a public debate on taxes. I think we should acknowledge that. I don’t know if it will translate to legislation or winning elections, but winning the public debate is the predicate, step one, to both of those things.

  17. 17
    The Dangerman says:

    @Satanicpanic:

    This is just about laying the groundwork for raising taxes on the middle class.

    It’ll be about how they can eliminate certain deductions, thus fucking over a certain population; for example, eliminating, or more likely capping, the mortgage interest deduction should really fuck over the California and New York megalopolises (not that they would intentionally fuck over deep blue areas, of course).

    Edit: FYWP on the editing.

  18. 18
    Svensker says:

    @WereBear:

    Why isn’t the administration working with Republicans to get this jobs bill passed?

    ? ? ? !

    Oy

  19. 19
    Gilles de Rais says:

    “The smart Republicans realize that if we’re ever going to reconcile with the Democrats and come to a compromise, this is their holy grail,” Mr. Hoffman said. “They want loopholes eliminated and we should call their bluff because many Democrats have lobbied for corporate loopholes too.”
    __
    He said that changes in tax policy were also needed to make large-scale changes to entitlement programs. “If we don’t, we’ll be dead in the water and we won’t be able to beat Obama.

    These guys know how to keep after a goal until they achieve it. Damn shame the left has such a bad case of ADHD.

    I must confess something. I want to starve Norquist until he’s skinny enough to drown in a bathtub. Is that bad? It just seems like it would be so…poetic.

  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @WereBear:

    See my nym.

    First step in unfucking all this shit. The media MUST be reformed…radically.

  21. 21
    Martin says:

    And to the wingnuts decrying the horribleness of OWS:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    But we all know the Bill of Rights starts and ends with the number 2.

  22. 22
    singfoom says:

    @kay: I would agree with a caveat. We’re winning the public debate with the people who can possibly be influenced by the debate. Nothing anyone says or does will sway the 27%.

    It is a hopeful time, and this is a good sign of possible things to come, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for Republicans to come around on the tax issue.

    Plus, that’s just the first step. Say that argument is won. Then it’ll be about who gets the tax increase. And a pox on both their houses for me at the moment, since IMHO both parties are protecting the interests of the 1%. Doesn’t mean I’ll sit out or vote for crazy in 2012, but if they want to get some momentum behind the Ds, they better start actually embracing OWS and the idea that we need a level playing field for normal Americans.

    I don’t see much of that at the moment…

  23. 23
    kdaug says:

    @Martin: This would be my first line of attack in the debates against any R: “Mr. X has signed pledges to secret, unelected lobbyist restraining his ability to deal with problems as they arise. I pledge my allegiance only to the Constitution and to you, the people of America. Who would you rather have serving your interests?”

  24. 24
    Amir Khalid says:

    It makes you wonder: have these people never seen a Twilight Zone episode about the consequences of selling your soul to the Devil?

  25. 25
    Martin says:

    But I agree with some of the thoughts above that the GOP is on defense on taxes. They’ve overplayed their hand at a time that the government can’t afford it. The polls are against them strongly on that issue, and their ability to play the deficit against taxes is falling apart. Add to that, we’ve got this commission that is mandated to come up with a solution or else defense spending is going to get slashed, and they’re in a pretty difficult spot.

    I don’t underestimate their ability to spin their way out of that box, but it’s a tough spot nevertheless.

  26. 26
    kay says:

    @singfoom:

    since IMHO both parties are protecting the interests of the 1%.

    I think it’s too broad to say “both parties are protecting the interests of the 1%”

    Are some Democrats? Absolutely. They all have a voting record. It’s not that difficult to find out who’s doing what. Sherrod Brown is my Senator. Do I think, based on his voting record in both the House and the Senate that he’s working for the 1% ? No, I do not.

    I will say this. I knew some waffling on raising on taxes was going to come from Senators who are not considered “blue dogs”. It’s easy to say you’re all for raising taxes on the rich. It’s harder to keep saying it when the President says he’ll sign a tax increase.

    You’re about to find out who was blowing smoke.

  27. 27
    PeakVT says:

    Republicans find their voice: turns out, it’s whiny

    Now that’s quality.

  28. 28
    Steve says:

    What would happen if some organization started asking Democratic legislators to sign a parallel pledge: no cuts to the social safety net, ever, no matter what. What would happen? The Beltway media would probably label these legislators as unserious, in a way they never do to Republicans who sign the Norquist pledge.

    But such a pledge would presumably be quite popular among actual voters, so I wonder why this hasn’t been tried yet. Maybe it has and I missed it.

  29. 29
    Paul in KY says:

    @Gilles de Rais: I think that would be a kind way to end ole Grover’s existence. Kinder than my ways.

  30. 30
    singfoom says:

    @kay: Fair enough. I painted too broadly with that brush.

    For me, the big hope at the moment is that OWS will be able to push the Ds to do something big and spectacular on public campaign financing. You’re right in not all Ds protect the 1% and you can tell by voting record, but WAAAAAY TOO MANY Ds are still sucking at Wall Street’s cash teat. Even if they have the political cover to do what is needed, I find it hard to believe that any that fall in that category will have the will necessary to reject the Wall Street cash.

    Maybe that’s a pony.

  31. 31
    kay says:

    @Martin:

    I think Romney is going to be the nominee, and I think he’s just flailing on taxes, and the whole 1% issue.

    If we’re talking about “corporate loopholes” instead of ” what we owe job creators”, and we are, according to the Republican quoted in the article, that’s not a great place for them. Again, certain Democrats have a problem, too. I don’t know how any politician explains what has become clear: there is no shared sacrifice. Why not? They have to answer that question.

  32. 32
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Martin:

    They repeatedly ignore clauses in Article VI of the main body, as well, when they insist that this is a “Christian Nation.”

  33. 33
    eemom says:

    wow. Frank Wolf is the next district over from mine and has always struck me as dumber than a box of rocks. If even HE is catching on…..

  34. 34
    kay says:

    @singfoom:

    I have a real state-specific view of Senators that doesn’t lend itself to broad categories. I think the term people use is “parochial interests”. I’m not necessarily opposed to a Senator who has “parochial interests”. That’s (ostensibly) a big part of their job, I would think. It’s legit, to some extent.

  35. 35
    Steve says:

    @singfoom: The DISCLOSE Act was pretty good. Too bad it got filibustered! It’s tough to build public sentiment for something like campaign financing, even if you go big and spectacular, because most people don’t care about process stuff.

    The Republican position on public financing would probably be something like “Don’t you hate negative campaign ads? Well, the Democrats want to raise your taxes to pay for even more of them.” I don’t know that they’d end up playing defense on the issue.

  36. 36
    WereBear says:

    Thing is, this line of crap sold a lot better in 2000; everyone was working and eating and tooling along, and cutting taxes sounded most awesome.

    NOW, it’s different. The lies about job creators are ringing hollow after years of foreclosed houses and skyrocketing unemployment.

    They are playing the same old tune; but I don’t think people are hearing it in the same way that they used to.

  37. 37
    eemom says:

    @kay:

    “flailing” is putting it kindly, considering that literally the BEST he’s been able to do is whimper “class warfare”? like some character in a fairy tale trying to figure out the secret password that unlocks the door to the dungeon.

    He’s beyond pathetic.

  38. 38
    WaterGirl says:

    @Martin: Obama pretty much said that in one of his speeches, but of course it wasn’t amplified by the media.

    Edit: Is it crazy that if I had to rank threats to our democracy, at this point I would have trouble ranking Al Qaeda higher than our mainstream media?

    Edit 2:martin @ 25. i think they also overplayed their hand on this jobs bill.

  39. 39
    amk says:

    @burnspbesq: I would add murdock and limpaugh and every fucking racist rw talk radio peckerheads to that list.

  40. 40
    Ken says:

    @Gilles de Rais:

    I must confess something. I want to starve Norquist until he’s skinny enough to drown in a bathtub. Is that bad? It just seems like it would be so…poetic.

    That would be too active a role for my taste. However, should he slip in the bathtub, call 911, and find that no help was available due to budget cutbacks…

  41. 41
    Culture of Truth says:

    In retrospect, perhaps turning our nation over to a bunch of mindless psychotics wasn’t the best idea…

  42. 42
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @WereBear:

    Thing is, this line of crap sold a lot better in 2000; everyone was working and eating and tooling along, and cutting taxes sounded most awesome.

    The supreme irony: Gore said he’d continue Clinton’s policies that gave us an annual surplus that could be used to *pay down the national debt*, which makes things even better, because debt service (paying off bond interest) is a huge part of the federal budget.

    This is supposedly the sort of fiscal conservatism that the Rethuglicans claim to be all about. If Bush’s tax cuts for the truly greedy not been implemented, the national debt would have been eliminated in about 20 years, barring unforeseen expenditures/major economic downturns to reduce revenues.

    But then, as Dick Cheney once pointed out, Ronald Reagan proved deficits don’t matter. At least as long as a Rethuglican is occupying the White House.

    The concern about the national debt, along with the deficit, is the nominal rallying meme of the entire teabagger movement.

    Note I said nominal. Reality is, that if the country is racking up huge debt to kill brown people, the teabaggers have no problem at all with it.

    Predictably, when Obama came into office, and put the deserting coward’s excellent Mesopotamian adventure back ON the budget (it had been “off budget” from the getgo, much like the “Save Neil Bush from his own greed” S&L crisis that his father dealt with in the late 80’s…caused by…you guessed it, deregulation), the Rethuglicans started screaming about how OBAMA drastically increased the deficit…by no longer telling a lie about paying for the Mesopotamian adventure.

  43. 43
    Elliecat says:

    What does Grover F*cking Norquist HAVE on all these Goopers? That’s what I’ve never understood. Why does this worthless jerk wield enough power to damage our country? What have I missed?

  44. 44
    singfoom says:

    @kay: That’s fair, but I would think the issue there is whether the state’s interest comes before the interests of the nation as a whole. I totally get it, vulnerable Dems in states where they have to support the dominant industry or they’re politically toast.

    This is why my highest priority is public campaign financing, a repeal of Citizen’s United and a Constitutional Amendment outlawing private contributions to any political campaign.

    And yes, that’s a big damn pony…

    But if you removed all of the corruptive influence of private money from our politics, I think we would get a lot better politicians and policies.

    Maybe it’s just wishful thinking….

  45. 45
    kay says:

    @eemom:

    He’s beyond pathetic.

    He doesn’t just ask for votes. He begs. He pleads. There’s something desperate in his eyes that makes me feel like he’s burdening me with liking him :)

    His whole schtick feels needy to me, and I’m completely fascinated by the rumors that the other candidates don’t like him.

    They’re feeling it too, eemom.

  46. 46
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    Grover Norquist is telling us that conservative lawmakers, including at least one Senator, signed a pledge that they didn’t understand.

    Didn’t understand?

    hell… I’d bet good money half of ’em didn’t even bother to READ IT before signing…

    ***slaps sawbuck down on bar…***

    Of course, whether that – not reading it – was due to illiteracy, or alcohol, or being distracted w/ a page… is another matter…

    But I’d still bet far too many of them didn’t even bother to read it first…

  47. 47
    singfoom says:

    @Steve: Yes, the optics are difficult on that issue, I agree. I can only imagine a “If we are able to pass this, we will no longer have to campaign for the majority of our term in Congress and actually be able to do the people’s will.”

    Or something along those lines. There’s a lot of ways you could appeal to voters. Everyone seems to agree the current system isn’t working, let’s try removing private influence.

  48. 48
    Anoniminous says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Painting with too broad a brush.

    Not ALL of them are “mindless psychotics.” Some are sociopaths; some are paranoid schizophrenics; some are hysterically neurotic (using the old terminology;) some suffer from severe cognitive dysfunction; others are merely delusional.

  49. 49
    kay says:

    @singfoom:

    vulnerable Dems in states where they have to support the dominant industry or they’re politically toast.

    Right, that, but why start so cynical?

    Maybe Al Franken supports industries and such that are important to the economy of Minnesota outright. Maybe it’s not reluctant or a wretched heart-rending compromise or (entirely) politically motivated.

    Sherrod Brown thinks Ohio should remain a manufacturing state, for many reasons, many of them good and honorable. Does that give him trouble on environmental issues? Yeah, it does. He has to walk that line, and set priorities.

  50. 50
    cleek says:

    @kay:
    and the best part, after years and years of being told the same thing over and over (“you’re ok, but i think we can do better”), the guy’s still out there trying to make it work.

    his determination is pretty impressive. or maybe it’s desperation. impressive desperation.

  51. 51
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity:

    It’s pretty strongly implied above that at least two senators only got around to actually reading the damn thing, let alone comprehending it, very recently.

  52. 52
    kay says:

    @singfoom:

    It gets so complicated! Rob Portman, who is the new GOP Senator in Ohio, an example.

    When Sherrod Brown announced he was sponsoring a currency law re: China, that law is completely consistent with Sherrod Brown’s entire career, House and Senate, and will be WILDLY popular in Ohio, across Party lines.

    Portman is (now) LOUDLY on-board. Simply because he’s now an Ohio Senator. No other reason. Purely political but also parochial.

    Sherrod Brown didn’t change. The political atmosphere changed.

  53. 53
    cleek says:

    Grover’s pledge is probably one of the many forms in the New GOP Legislator’s Starter Kit – along with govt-funded health insurance signup forms, a pledge to never take St Ronnie’s name in vain, and the contract that gives Satan custody of your soul.

    new GOPers probably just hand them all off to a staffer for robo-signing as they head off to the golf course.

  54. 54
    mk3872 says:

    Isn’t this really just the consequences of a major U.S. political party that looks for candidates that don’t think for themselves and instead let think tanks write their agendas, sign 3rd party pledges on how they’ll govern and let Fox News handle their marketing?

  55. 55
    feebog says:

    I’m surprised no one has brought up this point yet, so I will dip one toe in the water. Does anyone remember what is due to expire in just over a year? If you guessed the extension to the Bush tax cuts that Republicans blackmailed Obama into signing last year, you win a schooner of beer. I think a lot of this (very slight) backing away from the Norquist pledge is Republicans positioning themselves on another extension. How are they going to argue that the super rich deserve yet another tax extension? They know the vast unwashed outthere are finally getting wise to whole “can’t tax the Job Creators” song an dance. They know that they are going to have to put together something next year that will be palapable to the public. So they are getting a little squishy on the pledge, knowing they may have to fudge a little to get by.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    drkrick says:

    @Elliecat:

    What does Grover F*cking Norquist HAVE on all these Goopers?

    The threat of the Club for Growth funding a viable primary challenge. This is also how a lot of GOP Reps and Sens got pressured into voting for the Clinton impeachment when they knew better.

  58. 58
    artem1s says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    It makes you wonder: have these people never seen a Twilight Zone episode about the consequences of selling your soul to the Devil?

    forget Faust, do they think Marlow was haunting Scrooge cause he was failing as a capitalist? And the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was warning him about Cratchitt joining a union?

  59. 59
    MarkJ says:

    @Gilles de Rais: I think that punishment sounds about right. From the looks of him missing meals would be a major punishment but you’d probably have to wait months before he’s skinny.

  60. 60
    MarkJ says:

    @kay: I agree – forcing them to defend tax loopholes and the rich is the place we want to be right now. If they are re-thinking the pledge they gave Grover, it shows that’s a debate they’d rather not be on the wrong side of. I’m hoping the OWS protests are starting to change our political discourse a little. Hopefully the media will come around eventually.

  61. 61
    MarkJ says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: This is exactly what is so frustrating. They don’t give a crap about the deficit except as a club to use to beat the next Democratic President. In fact, I wouldn’t put it past them to have increased it under Bush for that very purpose.

  62. 62
    Svensker says:

    @artem1s:

    forget Faust, do they think Marlow was haunting Scrooge cause he was failing as a capitalist? And the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was warning him about Cratchitt joining a union?

    I don’t have time to look for it, but Nat’l Review did a piece a while ago about how pre-repenting Scrooge was actually the capitalist hero in Christmas Carol and Bob Cratchit was the evil git who brought Scrooge to sockalism. I wish I were kidding.

  63. 63
    Hoodie says:

    @feebog: Agree, and add that Republicans may have made a strategic error when they agreed to the payroll tax cut in exchange for extension of the Bush tax cuts for the 1 percenters. I suspect they’ll start hedging on taxes and pivot to yelling about abortion, gays, Muslims and/or immigrants again soon, but there is some hope they’re running out of diversions. Notice that the goopers in the House are pushing an anti-abortion bill now, like that’s a pressing need with 9.1% unemployment. It’s too simplistic to assume that the GOP only cares about reducing taxes on the rich. Their main thrust is keeping their tribe in power, which includes maintaining wealth as a lever, but also other levers, like fear.

  64. 64
    Triassic Sands says:

    Signing a never-raise-tax pledge should have made any legislator ineligible for the Supercommittee. No one who signed such a pledge can possibly be responsible in considering what to do about our fiscal situation.

  65. 65
    Gilles de Rais says:

    From the looks of him missing meals would be a major punishment but you’d probably have to wait months before he’s skinny.

    @MarkJ: I have a concrete basement and nothing but time.

  66. 66
    Gus says:

    What the fuck? Is this pledge legally binding? Fucking break your pledge you assholes.

  67. 67
    Ruckus says:

    @MarkJ:
    Not if he missed all of them.

  68. 68
    Roger Moore says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Is it crazy that if I had to rank threats to our democracy, at this point I would have trouble ranking Al Qaeda higher than our mainstream media?

    Not at all. Al Qaeda has occasionally been a minor threat to our lives, but never a serious one to our democracy. The biggest threat has always been from within, that powerful people would try to grab ever more power based on flimsy promises of some future benefit. (Queue Ben Franklin quotes about safety/liberty trades.) The only real threat AQ posed was that it would give an excuse for that kind of internal failure.

  69. 69
    Ruckus says:

    @Roger Moore:
    The requisite THIS.

  70. 70
    Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    “The first rule needs to be that assholes with trust funds (I’m looking at you, Norquist, you worthless fuck) can’t complain about taxes.”

    Norquist is a trustafarian?

  71. 71
    Roger Moore says:

    @MarkJ:

    From the looks of him missing meals would be a major punishment but you’d probably have to wait months before he’s skinny.

    Can I suggest spending eternity in water up to his neck that recedes whenever he tries to take a drink and food above his head that always moves beyond his reach when he tried to grab it? Maybe that could be updated somehow, like being stuck in an endless food court without any cash and a credit card that keeps getting declined or won’t scan…

  72. 72
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    It makes you wonder: have these people never seen a Twilight Zone episode about the consequences of selling your soul to the Devil?

    I think that’s covered in the Bible, too. Y’know, that dust-covered and forgotten book that many of them own but have never read?

  73. 73
    priscianusjr says:

    @ChrisNYC:

    Does anyone know where this rebellion against Norquist is coming from? Is it plain fear of voters? Just so hard to believe they have consciences/any sense of actual public mindedness.

    Good question. Certainly it’s got nothing to do with conscience — more to do with survival instinct. Actually I was thinking of a different but related question: I would like to hear at least a couple of these guys explain in plain English WHY they no longer think signing a pledge not to raise taxes was such a great idea. Just spell it out for us.

    i mean, I know the answer to that question, but I’d like to hear it from them.

  74. 74
    priscianusjr says:

    @ChrisNYC:

    Does anyone know where this rebellion against Norquist is coming from?

    Here, read this:
    http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonath.....r-norquist

  75. 75
    priscianusjr says:

    @Gus:

    What the fuck? Is this pledge legally binding?

    Of course it’s not legally binding, but the understanding until recently has been that they would probably get primaried if they did.

  76. 76
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Sock Puppet of the Great Satan:

    Polaroid money. Daddy was CEO there.

  77. 77
    JCT says:

    What gets me about Romney is his complete lack of authenticity. He is just irredeemably FAKE.

    How anyone could think that he could lead anything is just beyond me.

  78. 78
    Proudhon says:

    Maybe they can all sign a pledge that commits them to not signing any more pledges.

  79. 79
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Proudhon:

    Maybe they can all sign a pledge that commits them to not signing any more pledges.

    Reminds me of a Steve Martin bit:

    Everybody! Repeat after me the Non-Conformist’s Pledge!
    I promise to be DIFFERENT!
    I promise to be UNIQUE!
    I promise not to repeat things other people say!

  80. 80
  81. 81
    Origuy says:

    Brian: Look, you’ve got it all wrong! You don’t need to follow me. You don’t need to follow anybody! You’ve got to think for yourselves! You’re all individuals!
    Crowd: [in unison] Yes! We’re all individuals!
    Brian: You’re all different!
    Crowd: [in unison] Yes, we are all different!
    Man in crowd: I’m not…
    Crowd: Shhh!

  82. 82
  83. 83
    burnspbesq says:

    @JCT:

    How anyone could think that he could lead anything is just beyond me.

    He did a great job leading Bain Capital. Requires a different kind of leadership, I’d venture to guess.

  84. 84
    burnspbesq says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Nagahappen. I counsel patience. Preet the Destroyer takes a long time to choose his victims, but he hasn’t missed yet.

  85. 85
    JCT says:

    @burnspbesq: I guess I mean anything “moral” or “non-evil” – hah!

    And i hope you aren’t a Yankees fan….

  86. 86
    PIGL says:

    @Elliecat: How hard do you suppose it would be to find grounds to blackmail the average gooper?

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