EDITOR:Probably no single American has had as much power over our legislators as Grover Norquist.
Born in 1956, Norquist's interest in politics began when he was helping to elect Richard Nixon in 1968.
It was while in his early teens that he first thought of the idea of "branding" the Republican party as a no-tax party. He said he got the idea from Pepsi.
After taking bachelor's and masters degrees from Harvard, he founded the advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform.
As a non-profit, the group is not required to reveal its contributors. The ATR states that it "opposes all tax increases as a matter of principal."
Norquist himself has famously stated, "I'm not in favor of abolishing government, I just want to shrink it to a size where it can be drowned in the bathtub."
He also said, "I don't think anyone learns anything about politics after the age of 21."
The Norquist Pledge states that a signer will never vote for an increase in the marginal income tax rates, nor for the closing of any loopholes for the purpose of raising revenue.
A majority of lawmakers have signed the pledge. Grover has threatened to defeat any candidate who refuses to sign his pledge. He often likes to point out that George Herbert Walker Bush was defeated after he raised taxes, and takes credit for his defeat.
Indeed, his donors have provided him with a great deal of money to sink a recalcitrant Republican.
Such a rigid stance results in wars being fought on the credit card, and borrowing money to take care of returning veterans and relieve disaster victims.
Sometimes it is simply necessary to raise taxes. To decide beforehand to never raise taxes for any reason is just plain stupid.
Responsible lawmakers know that and do what is right. Lawmakers whose only priority is re-election sign the pledge, the brainchild of a 14-year-old.
Grover Norquist believes that by enforcing the pledge, he can "bring us back to the days before Teddy Roosevelt, before socialism and Social Security."
I think each lawmaker should decide if he will pledge allegiance to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands, or pledge his allegiance to Grover Norquist. (Our own Congressman has signed the pledge.)
Here is a bit of doggerel that describes the relationship between Grover and the Republican legislators.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
My allegiance is to Grover, cause I'm sitting here in clover; Life is lobster and champagne and lots of money for campaigns. I pledge not to raise the tax, even if we're on our backs. There's no honor in my acts, still I will not raise a tax. If my credibility has a gap, who cares, I sit in Grover's lap. All my friends are doing well; the rest of you can go to Hades. My trustworthiness is over, for my soul belongs to Grover. No need for democracy, we prefer plutocracy, a wealthy aristocracy. This congress is a mockracy.