The Time is Ripe for Ending The Pledge

Some good news. posted an article asking if Norquist is losing his hold over the GOP. Interesting points in the article:

1) “Americans for Tax Reform spent almost $16 million on independent expenditure ads in 2012. Crossing the group has always increased the likelihood of a primary challenge.”

“Norquist’s group spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads explicitly defending candidates like California Republican Ricky Gill and Georgia Republican Lee Anderson against flak they were taking for signing the pledge. Both lost.”

When the issue of signing this pledge is raised in political campaigns, people don’t like it. This should be a lesson to candidates in future races.

2) Norquist hosts a “weekly ‘Wednesday Meeting,’ a gathering of “more than 150 elected officials, political activists, and movement leaders” who plot strategy and coordinate messaging every week.”

Why is an unelected lobbyist running meetings to determine policy and strategy for elected leaders?

I’ve been meaning to write about this, but since it is raised in this article, now is a good time to bring it up. For decades, Norquist has hosted this meeting, which is one reason why Republican candidates and pundits always speak with one voice. They meet to strategize how to present and discuss certain issues, then they go out into the world en masse and with a unified voice to promote that view. I think it was Hillary Clinton who coined the phrase the “Echo Chamber,” but it is one way that this anti-tax, anti-government message has been drummed into our beliefs. In one way, it is commendable that the GOP leaders are so disciplined and single minded. But it raises the question that, if the leaders have signed this pledge, and Norquist is hosting/running the meetings, then who really is running our government? Who is making the policies that are affecting our lives?

3) “Last year, there were 238 members of the House and 41 members of the Senate who had signed Norquist’s pledge. This year, there are just 217 in the House — one shy from the 218 needed for a majority — and 39 in the Senate, an all-time low.”

Let’s make it really, really low this year.

4) “Of course, the tide has been turning against Norquist for some time, and his demise has been predicted before. But this crisis moment in Washington looks a lot like a breaking point for the anti-tax agenda.”

Now is the time to really push to end this pledge, or at least to make it unacceptable for signing it. A concerted effort to bring light to this issue, to call out the leaders who have signed the pledge just might make the difference.


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