Grover Norquist

There’s a pretty interesting piece in today’s Chicago Tribune, Pipeline leads to White House, that centers on Grover Norquist’s weekly meetings with conservative leaders and the interaction between Norquist’s group and the White House. Norquist, as you may recall, recently said “Bipartisanship is another name for date rape”. By that I suppose he meant that there’s no point trying to act nice (the date) with Democrats when you’ve got something else entirely in mind. Here are a few highlights from the piece:

  • “Senior presidential adviser Karl Rove, who is in regular contact with Norquist, always sends an emissary and sometimes personally attends the weekly meetings. George W. Bush sent a representative for a full year before he even announced he was running for president.”
  • “Norquist began pushing for Congress to pass annual tax cuts well before the White House said it would press Congress to do the same thing.”
  • “‘The goal is to reduce the size and scope of government in half over the next 25 years’, Norquist said.”
  • “Among Norquist’s goals is placing former President Ronald Reagan’s name on buildings across the country.” [Note: oddly enough, presumably financed with tax money.]
  • “…the White House asked Norquist for help in pushing Congress to confirm judicial nominee Miguel Estrada. Norquist used his national network of contacts to successfully push 10 state legislatures to pass resolutions calling for the nominee’s confirmation.”
  • “Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy and a Pentagon official in the Reagan administration, raised concerns in a speech about anti-American Muslim groups penetrating the White House…Norquist responded by sending Gaffney a letter denouncing him and demanding he apologize to the president and his staffers. He also banished Gaffney from the Wednesday meetings, which Gaffney had attended for the last five years.”

That last one is to Norquist’s credit. I don’t have any particular problem with the Republicans having meetings like this and attempting to influence policy, as there seems to be a lot of transparency. I just wish they weren’t so good at it.