I was a bit out of the loop last week, and missed this:
As a conservative Republican, Lindsey Graham has never had a problem promising not to raise taxes. Like almost every other Republican member of Congress, he has signed the anti-tax pledge put forth by Grover Norquist’s group Americans for Tax Reform.
But now Graham says the debt crisis is so severe that the tax pledge — which says no tax loopholes can be eliminated unless every dollar raised by closing loopholes goes to tax cuts — has got to go.
“When you eliminate a deduction, it’s okay with me to use some of that money to get us out of debt. That’s where I disagree with the pledge,” said Graham…
Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. But it sent Grover Norquist into orbit, ranting about unicorns:
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, is none too pleased.
“This was a brain fart, not a real idea,” he told me in a phone conversation just now. “It doesn’t scare me. I think what he was doing was answering a hypothetical question to show how hypothetically open-minded he was about something.”…
He said the Senator was making the same mistake Ronald Reagan made in 1982 and George H.W. Bush did in 1990: believing congressional Democrats who promise a ratio of spending cuts to tax increases, in this case four-to-one.
“Pinocchio was told by the fox and cat that this would be” a good idea, Norquist said. He lampooned Graham for being disconnected from the reality of fiscal negotiations, comparing him to his three-year-old daughter.
“It’s like having that conversation about what color unicorn you like, while in the back of your mind you know there’s no such thing. ‘Grover, why don’t you like green ones?’ But there aren’t any ones! I have a three year old who says this a lot. She has green unicorns, but we don’t need them in the Senate.”…
I’m not sure exactly what he means, but he seems to be saying that presuming to actually deliberate with the other member of the Congress who, although of a different party, were elected just as legitimately to that body as Graham was (you know, as the Framers of the Constitution envisioned), is as fantastic and ridiculous as the existence of unicorns.
Is that how you read it?
There is the world envisioned by the Framers, and then that envisioned by Grover Norquist. In the latter, all elected representatives do exactly what Grover Norquist tells them to do. I prefer the former.