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.