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Saturday, March 23, 2019

A few words to ponder as we sail toward the fiscal cliff. Those words would be: “That was then, this is now.”

Strip away the false piety and legalistic hair-splitting offered by Republican lawmakers rationalizing their decision to abandon a pledge that they will never ever, ever, ever vote to raise taxes, and that’s pretty much what the explanation boils down to.

Rep. Peter King says he understood the pledge, propounded by the almighty Grover Norquist and his group Americans for Tax Reform, to obligate him for only one term. Apparently, he thought it had to be renewed, like a driver’s license.

Sen. Lindsey Graham says that if Democrats agree to entitlement reform, “I will violate the pledge … for the good of the country” — a stirring statement of patriotism and sacrifice that warms your heart like a midnight snack of jalapeño chili fries.

In other words: bull twinkies. If you want the truth of why a trickle of GOP lawmakers is suddenly willing to blaspheme the holy scripture of their faith, it’s simple. The pledge used to be politically expedient. Now it is not.

This is not, by the way, a column in defense of the Norquist pledge. The only thing dumber than his offering such a pledge was scores of politicians signing it, an opinion that has nothing to do with the wisdom or lack thereof of raising taxes and everything to do with the fact that one ought not, as a matter of simple common sense, make hard, inflexible promises on changeable matters of national import. It is all well and good to stand on whatever one’s principles are, but as a politician — a job that, by definition, requires the ability to compromise — you don’t needlessly box yourself in. Never say never.

Much less never ever, ever, ever.

So this revolution against “he who must be obeyed,” however modest, is nonetheless welcome. It suggests reason seeping like sunlight into places too long cloistered in the damp and dark of ideological rigidity.

But it leaves an observer in the oddly weightless position of applauding a thing and being, simultaneously, disgusted by it. Has politics ever seemed more ignoble than in these clumsy, self-serving attempts to justify a deviation from orthodoxy? They have to do this, of course, because the truth — “I signed the pledge because I knew it would help me get elected, but with economic ruin looming and Obama re-elected on a promise to raise taxes on the rich and most voters supporting him on that, it’s not doing me as much good as it once did” — is unpretty and unflattering.

In this awkward about-face, these lawmakers leave us wondering once again whether the vast majority of them — right and left, red and blue, Republican and Democrat — really believe in anything, beyond being re-elected.

There is a reason Congress’ approval ratings flirted with single digits this year. There is a reason a new Gallup poll finds only 10 percent of Americans ranking Congress “high or very high” in honesty and ethics.

Lawyers rank higher. Advertisers rank higher. Even journalists rank higher.

This is the sad pass to which years of congressional grandstanding, fact spinning, cookie-jar pilfering and assorted harumphing and pontificating have brought us. And while a certain cynicism toward its leaders functions as a healthy antigen in the body politic, it cannot be good for either the nation or its leaders that so many of them are held in plain contempt.

The moral malleability exemplified by the likes of King and Graham will not help. Perhaps we should ask them to sign a new pledge: “I will always tell you what I think and what I plan to do in plain English, regardless of whether you like it or it benefits me politically.”

But no lawmaker would make that pledge. And who would believe them if they did?

(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for the Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via email at

(c) 2012 The Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Photo credit: AP/Cliff Owen, File

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90 responses to “Never Ever, Ever, Ever…”

  1. old_blu says:

    It’s too bad we can’t ask for our money back, for paying these deadbeats for doing nothing, I would be embarrassed for taking money for the work they have got done.

    • mavilasr says:

      Hope the Republicans wake up and avoid the Fiscal Cliff in order to hold on to their very rich friends. Their rational for pandering to the rich is clear. We know and we rejoice they lost the election.

      • You Must Remember They Are The Rich That They Are Looking Out For !!! Most Of These Thugs In Office Are Rich!!!

        • idamag says:

          Fern, the wealthy had taken over our government when Hoover was president. I would like to quote to you what Roosevelt’s first VP said about it. “The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous fascists, in America, are those who want to do in the United States what hitler did in Germany.” -Wallace.

          He was referring to the wealthy anti-government people.

    • Trouble is Old Blu, It doesn’t bother the Repugs a bit, they just keep on doing it.

    • idamag says:

      Old Blu, people, like that, should be paid piecemeal, meaning they get paid by the job.

  2. Congressional Republicans will forever remain intransigent and entrenched in their Norquist pledge not to raise taxes on the rich. They are more interested in keeping their cushy government jobs where they get to continue to suck off the teat of taxpayers’ money and, at the same time, get thousands of dollars and benefits from lobbyists, such as Norquist, for remaining faithful to his pledge. The few Republicans who buck their party pledge know that they do so at a tremendous political price. Norquist and his group will make certain that these maverick politicians will face a primary challenge in his or her district during the next election. So Congressional Republicans find it a lot easier to not buck the system instead of standing up, having some courage, and doing what’s right for the American people. Those few who do buck the system are making ridiculous demands of Democrats while, at the same time, are willing to concede very little in a fiscal cliff agreement. They still demand no new taxes on the rich, only closing a few tax loopholes. At the same time, these Congressional Republicans want the President to raise retirement age from 65 t0 67, raise the income level at which the rich will have to start paying taxes from $250,000 to $1,000,000, and to considerably cut the tax rate which the rich which will have to pay. This certainly doesn’t sound like a compromise to me. It sounds like a one-sided political blackmail by the Republicans. After the election, somehow the Republicans feel like they have some kind of mandate to hold the American people hostage to their demands. If the President agrees to this nonsense just to avoid the fiscal cliff then he, once again will have betrayed the middle class and the poor. Make it very clear to the President and Congressional Democrats that we do not want an imbalanced deal where the rich concede very little and the middle class is stuck with the brunt of the negative financial consequences.

    • jarheadgene says:

      We all need to Write to Congress, the Senate…the President…..”NO DEAL is better than a BAD DEAL! All deals have to START and END with tax increase of higher income 2%.”

      That should be the NEW PEOPLE to PRESIDENT PLEDGE…..He is the guy we elected…NO ONE…..I REPEAT …..NO ONE….elected Grover Norquist to any post…not even Dog Catcher.

      No offense meant dog catchers. 🙂

  3. The Norquist pledge was an abomination. Not only is it not prudent to categorically reject the possibility of raising taxes, particularly in a country that has engaged in continuous warfare since its inception, it actually undermines the Oath of Office elected officials must take before taking office.
    Claiming to be in favor of a balanced budget and reducing the national debt, while at the same time objecting to raise revenues is something that only a Tea Party advocate can support with a straight face. The Bush tax cuts wiped out the budget surplus W inherited in one year. Hiding the cost of two wars and using accounting schemes to pretend there are no consequences to our decisions may satisfy the naive, it does little for those capable of rational thinking.
    We need both, additional revenues and spending reductions. The key is to do it with minimal impact to the economy, without affecting the livelihood of our most vulnerable citizens, and without lowering our standard of living.
    It can be done, the only thing that is needed is commitment to country and pragmatism.

    • Don B says:

      You’re absolutely right. I have found, though, that to stymie the Repugs, we need to ask them, why Dick cheney said on a national news show some years ago that “deficits don’t matter” when he was starting up his two wars (without anyway of paying for them). How come deficits are a big deal now? Oh that’s right, a Democrat was elected!……

      • Don B: Yes this was what Dick Cheney said on TV. What I would like to know is what he said when he chaired the Energy Policy for the United States Behind closed doors.

        • idamag says:

          John. good question.

        • jarheadgene says:

          Probably something like…..”I am tied into big OIL for BIG BUCKS, as are many of our Republican Bretheren, and we have lots of fleecing, of good Americans to come yet. So we have to squash the “free” engergy the sun and the wind provide. There is lots of money to be made here, let’s not lose focus of that and get back to SPINNING the lies as we need. That’s my pep talk, now let’s get out there and tell the media, besides FOX, to go F*** THEMSELVES !”
          I may be paraphrasing, but IMO it went down something like that.

    • grandbaby1 says:

      Dom why don’t you run for office. You seem yo have a better grasp of running govt than those doing it now.

    • I Can Say That I Will Never Ever Ever Vote For A GOP/Tea Party American Taliban Member NEVER In Life!!! Believe Me I Will Stick To My Word!!!!

      • idamag says:

        fern, I am not even a Democrat, but I won’t vote Republican until it is out of the hands of the fascists. Their rhetoric has been so ugly. They don’t care about the American People, just the tealabans.

    • RonaldS says:

      Well said. I’ve said this before that I fear substanital positive changes will not happen until the 2014 election. While the Tea Party fanatics will still be around, their numbers will shrink as a % of the electorate. Where were they when Bush exploded the deficit? They were borne out of bigotry, pure and simple eventhough a few gullible and also insane Afro-Americans joined their ranks such as Allen West who was just defeated.

    • rpg1408 says:

      “commitment to country and pragmatism ” and not inflexible commitment to the worst, most extreme, elements in the country. When will the GOP admit that the policies they promote have never worked,will never work, and will just succeed in bringing more economic misery to the people they profess to represent.

      • Jim Myers says:

        Replying to rpg1408 –

        The problem is that they cannot admit that the policies they promote have never worked.

        Because they have been telling us that they are the only solution possible for so long, that they actually believe it.

        Repeat after me. “TINKLE DOWN DOES NOT WORK!!!!”

    • Melvin Chatman says:

      I ain’t MAD @ Grover, He and Carl have RAPED the GOP and the GOP just “relaxed and enjoyed it”
      Dominick, we need to draw up a Pledge for the Democrats to sign that they will “Raise Taxes” on the Rich, or there will be HELL to PAY!
      Grover has given us a good Template to start with!

  4. Jim Lou says:

    If the experience with Proposition 13 in California tells us anything it is that rigidness causes problems down the line. New construction get socked, which limits development. This is really a detriment.

    The Norquist pledge is the same thing. There is no allowance for change. If a national disaster happens there is no provision for it.

  5. stcroixcarp says:

    Grover Norquist, like Peter Pan, never grew up and lives in a libertarian never, never land. One can only hope that the citizens of this country come to their senses and confine Grover’s notions to his make believe world and get on with the business of running the country.

  6. nobsartist says:

    Since they lost the election and still continue down the path they have been on for 50 years, it is time to throw “bi-partisanship” out the window and kick these idiots to oblivion.

  7. ChristoD says:

    Nordquist looks like a sleazier version of Carl Rove. They both look like aged gerbals and their smile/smear reminds me of an obnoxious hyiena. What makes them so bizarre is that they would LOVE this description of them. They love it when they are hated. Unbelievable.

  8. The Pledge to Norquist by the republicans Couldn’t make it any clearer how little they care for the American people. This “Pledge” should go down in history as an example of the greatest unpatriotic act in American history.

  9. Jim Joiner says:

    Any elected official who sings any pledge to not do something, should be impeached and banned from office for life. The duty of these people is to their constituents, not some independent organization. It is a sad commentary that this has happened with Norquist. We need term limits, with no benefits such as health insurance, retirement, etc. and we need them quickly to stop this foolishness.

    • karinursula says:

      If I’m a part-time employee I don’t get any benefits, the few days that Congress worked this year should make them also part-time. Lets cut their pay and benefits,

      • jarheadgene says:

        NO KIDDING… about ENTITLEMENTS. Why are they not talking about themselves when it comes to CUTS. So many Americans have been asked to take cuts in benefits, or pay more for the same benefits, or cut in O.T. while even more workload is expected. This comes at times when the Upper Mgmt and Executive Level Mgmt of so many Corporations have gone up exponentially. Greed IS NOT good because GREED does NOT work. Where are the congressional cuts? They have not earned their pay this last cycle. Where are their cuts in entitlements?

  10. a80a says:

    the pledge should not be to grover , but to the people who elected you, we are the down home folks you represent .
    If you don,t start doing your job and representing us , you will become one of us represented by someone else in 2014. I think a 50/50 congress is possible so you ass holes better tighten up.

  11. Kent says:

    Hmmm. The name Norquist is obviously a name of from Norwegian descent. Now, when the Nazi´s invaded Norway, they installed a puppet by the name of Quisling to run the government there. The Norwegians are no more fond of Quisling´s memory than the French are of Marshall Petain who led the occupied French “Vichy” government.

    So why don´t progressive Ameican´s simply refer to Grover as “Norquisling” !? Grover NorQUISLING. A few such references to him and his absurd “pledge”- his own little lobbyist gimmick for power inside the Beltwqay- as NorQUISLING will make Republicans wary of being publicly associated with NorQUISLING:

    • idamag says:

      Kent, good post. With your permission, I will call him Norquisling. Norway was a smart country. The nazis occupied, but never conquered the Norwegian people.

  12. sambilano says:

    I think is rather Grover Norquist who is holding the entire American people hostage,and may not be the Republicans.Who is this Guy?.

  13. idamag says:

    Our elected representatives turned their backs on we, the people, when they signed the pledge for the godfather.

  14. jjrjon says:

    The Grover Noquist Pledge is no more than a conspiracy against the United States.
    Why would our Willie Nellie politicians sign a pledge to a third party person? They singed a pledge when they were elected to uphold the Laws and Bi-laws of the Constitution. The idiots who signed Grover Norquist’s pledge should be censured and barred from ever holding Public Office and/or becoming a Lobbyist within American Politics.

  15. BEN says:

    Norquist is not and never was a Republican Member of Congress, so why would any elected official be beholding to any pledge he has on paper or otherwise? One would think he would submit any request or suggestions to his representative(s) in his geographical district for further consideration and possible action.

    Why would a congressman put themselves in such a untenable position, unnecessarily?

  16. jstsyn says:

    Their pledge is to America, NOT Grover. They should be fired, or whatever it is you do to get rid of treasonous politicians.

  17. William says:

    How can the GOP serve the people when their pledge to Grover comes first with them? When you look up conservative it says 1 opposed to change or innovation 2 traditional 3 a low estimated number. The GOP thinks it means, spend like a drunken sailor when in power and blame it on and make a big deal of it when the DNC is in power.

  18. norman says:

    What readers MUST remember is that the Republicans only ever run on TWo platform pledges:

    1) STOP ALL TAXATION of the rich

    2) ABOLISH ALL social services for the impoverished.

    A TRUE Republican will NEVER, EVER, back away from these “commandments” of the party.

    If A Republican even suggests that they MIGHT back away, then it is only because they are behind, in voter polls.

    Fact is, only the Democrats ever alter positions, based upon economic reality.

    Something Republicans call this “flip-flopping”.

    Something a true Republican will never, ever, consider.

  19. Landsende says:

    The rethuglicans want to cut entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare which we have paid into for years and for many is their only source of income. Now they want to lower the formula to calculate the cost of living which allows retiree’s to keep up with the cost of living which will mean less money in their pocket every month while prices continue to go up. If they are really serious about cutting the deficit they should also cut their pay, pensions and healthcare, considering their job performance the last twelve years. Maybe if their pay was tied to job performance they would start doing the job they were elected to do by their constituents and not by Grover Norquist.

    • Doctor T says:

      This is a slow form of genocide. They might as well take the old, the sick and the dying out and shoot them. Then they can feel justified in taking all those installments we made into the social security and medicare programs and line their pockets even further. We have the inmates running the prison!

  20. elw says:

    I still do not get why those Republicans who signed a pledge to Norquist have not been thrown out of Congress. It seems to me a complete contradiction to their Oath of Office and an impeachable offense. To whom have they pledge their allegiance, Norquist or to the good of the Country? What has been clear to me is that pledge has had more value to them, then the Constitution, their God and doing the job in Congress that they were hired for. Their 10% approval rating makes me think I am not the only one who feels that way.

  21. karinursula says:

    Maybe Norquist should pay their salaries and perks since they seem to work for him not the people of the US,

  22. Andrew Rei says:

    Let’s call the Norquist pledge what it really is: TREASON! Why is it treason? Because of the conflict between the pledge and the oath of affirmation, something all politicians take when they enter office the first time (or when they return after an absence). The pledge is to the people a politician represents, not him, so says Emperor Palpatine (my nickname for Norquist)…the huge problem with that is it doesn’t matter…when you take the oath of affirmation, you pledge to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. You’ll note that no words in the oath say anything about pledging loyalty to people, just to the Constitution. So, any pledge to any one person or group of people is a violation of the oath, which is treason. Remember that nearly every GOP politician in this country has signed this pledge, which means arresting all of them for treason would create a logistical nightmare in government. The “that was then, this is now” argument is irrelevant…nearly every GOPer serving is a traitor, pure and simple.
    I had a spirited instant-message discussion yesterday with a female African-American Facebook friend of mine. She told me that she thinks “deep changes” need to be made to the Constitution because it wasn’t written with her in mind. I had two points to make in response to that. First, the Constitution is a living document and, in a testament to that and its effectiveness, there have been only 15 net new amendments to it since it was written and ratified in 1787. There are 27 amendments, but it was written with the first 10, also known as the “Bill of Rights”, and two of them, the 18th and 21st, cancel each other out as the 18th established Prohibition and the 21st repealed it 14 years later. The second point was a lot more controversial in her mind and she didn’t agree with me on it. I’m a former five-sport official (football, soccer, volleyball, basketball & baseball). One thing you learn when you become a sports official is that there are A LOT of rules to remember. Lawyers, like in real life, write sports rulebooks. So, if you’re used to interpreting what is written in the rulebook, the better official you usually are. You also learn that officials, like judges, don’t like some rules and laws and have strange interpretations of them. In other words, a rule or law does no good whatsoever if it isn’t ENFORCED! My foundational point to her was that we charge the people responsible for enforcing the rules/laws with doing so. If they don’t do it, that’s not a problem with the laws and rules, just the idiots who decide not to enforce them.
    Let’s apply that to the situation with the pledge signers (there are a very small number of “Corporate” or “Blue Dog” Democrats that have signed it, too): if the FBI and Justice Department were doing their jobs by enforcing the Constitution, they’d immediately arrest, try and convict all of the pledge signers for treason…but, we haven’t seen that yet 🙁 ssmdh

    • ObozoMustGo says:

      In other words, people that don’t do exactly what DemonRATS say they should do are treasonous, correct? Yeah, right. Sure, sure.

      You can go back to smoking your crack pipe now, Andy.

      Have a nice high!

      “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C. S. Lewis

      • Lisztman says:

        If you wish ANYONE to listen to your arguments, sir, you might try exhibiting a bit of politeness: They’re “Democrats”. Your president is “President Obama”, or “Mr. Obama.” You’ve mis-spelled it. And left off a title.

        And your quote, while interesting, has NOTHING to do with taxation, spending, or immoral representation (as exhibited by those who take an oath in favor of something that may run counter to their oath of office).

        • ObozoMustGo says:

          Lizzy… don’t take my jabs too personally. I give, and I take. Believe me, I take around here, for certain. 🙂 🙂

          Re: Obozo. My patriotism is in allegiance to America, not one person that happens to hold office, and who is a clown. He doesn’t respect America, our traditions, history, or values. He seeks to “fundamentally transform America.” If he thought it was so great, why “fundamentally transform” it? This is why I have no respect for him whatsoever.

          Lizzy, the quote from C. S. Lewis is right on target. Re-read it and think again.

          Have a nice day!

          “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville

  23. This shows me that the republicans are not leaders but followers, they are not capable enough to make their own decisions. They fowow what norquist tells them to do. We might as well elect our children to these offices.

  24. “Government is not for the benefit of the governed.”–Robert Anson Heinlein.

    Before the Tea Party crows, I mean them more than anyone, as you may notice they want to reduce everyone ELSE’s governmental power.

  25. Rodney says:

    Dominick wouldn,t obeying that pleadge to norquist and not their oath of office be a form of treason

  26. RMATTEN says:

    The signing of a pledge by a Senator or Congressman to vote for or against anything should be a breach of his/her fiduciary duty.

    The director of a corporation (in virtually all states) is prohibited by law from committing himself/herself to vote for or against any corporate matter. It is a breach of their fiduciary duty as a director. If a corporate director’s fiduciary duty prevents him/her from signing a pledge, how can it be legal for a Senator or Congressman to sign such a pledge? Is the duty of a corporate director higher than the duty of our elected representatives?

  27. yodalynx says:

    The picture of Norquist in this article reminds me of the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz….”If I only had a brain..!”

  28. “Perhaps we should ask them to sign a new pledge: “I will always tell you what I think and what I plan to do in plain English, regardless of whether you like it or it benefits me politically.”
    We had one, he made such a promise, and we rejected him for a B actor and F politician.
    Or have you, too, forgotten, “I will never lie to you.” by Jimmy Carter?

  29. ObozoMustGo says:

    This articles is 180 degrees wrong. Good conservative, principled politicians should pledge to NEVER raise your taxes and stick to that pledge. DemonRAT politicians that pledge to spend more and more to give voters more and more gifts and NEVER reduce taxes should break their pledges and reduce taxes and spending. That would be a good DemonRAT that did that.

    Have a nice day!

    “The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.” – Ronald Reagan

    • Lisztman says:


      1) Who in heck is “Obozo”?

      2) “Never” raising taxes is NOT by definition a conservative principle. Having said that, if you believe it to be a current principle by which conservatives should abide, that’s fine.

      I’m sure you realize that the REAL liberal viewpoint (NOT the one bandied about by many of your fellow conservatives) is to ensure that we have sufficient revenue to cover whatever it is we’re spending. If the conservatives would actually outline SPECIFIC cuts — that are palpable to a cross-section (read: COMPROMISE) of left and right — then there might be a path to such compromise.

      If you believe that the there is any forthcoming danger to the US economy as a direct result of failure to come up with
      a) sufficient cuts to balance the budget, or
      b) sufficient revenue increases to balance the budget, or
      c) an acceptance of raising the allowable deficit,
      and Mr. Boehner and the Republicans hold the US economy hostage by a refusal to compromise, then you will accept that they will probably pay for it by further accrued losses in the next midterm elections (2014).

      • ObozoMustGo says:


        1) My chosen nickname reflects the fact that the current occupant of the peoples’ house at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is an absolute clown. Call it like it is.

        2) Your statement “that the REAL liberal viewpoint (NOT the one bandied about by many of your fellow conservatives) is to ensure that we have sufficient revenue to cover whatever it is we’re spending” is laughable, if not down right sad. You seem incapable of of simple math. When we spend a dollar and 46 cents of that dollar is borrowed, which requires interest payments, how do you not see the simple fact that there just is NO WAY to raise enough revenue to cover that difference in a nearly $4TRILLION annual spend. Have you ever had a math class, Lizzy?

        I am willing to compromise, Lizzy… How about this?

        Let’s go back 100% to the Clinton tax rates for ALL Americans. AND, simultaneously, let’s approve the exact same budget that was last signed by Bill Clinton. Maybe some things would be different in the makeup of the budget, the total amount in dollars must be exactly the same. If the Clinton rates were so good, then Clinton spending must have been good, also.

        Do you agree with this, or not. If not, why? I’m all ears.

        BTW… I have attached a graphic that shows revenue increases after the Bush tax rates were enacted. Look at the source. It’s Obozo’s own 2012 Economic Report.

        BTW2… Obozo reauthorized the Bush tax rates in 2010. They’re his rates now. Not Bush’s.

        Have a nice day!

        “The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.” – Ronald Reagan

        • Lisztman says:

          1) Regardless of your opinion you may and should still treat him with all the due respect accorded to the position. I considered GWB a clown, but you will find in all my posts that he’s President Bush or Mr. Bush — with the exception of GWB after the name is already mentioned (or GHW Bush, to distinguish). You should do the same. It would lend you some credence.

          2) Absolutely. Go back to the Clinton budget. NOW — how to you propose to pay for the ongoing military activity in Afghanistan that GWB instituted — with no budget to pay for it? How do you propose to pay for the ongoing on-the-ground advisors etc in Iraq which are only there because GWB decided to wage a previous war off-the-books as well? IOW — you have to tell me how to “get rid of” those things. Are you also going to eliminate Medicare Part D? (I’m not necessarily against same. But, again, GWB tossed in another goody to shore up his reelection chances, without providing the means to pay for it.
          … In summation, the last few Clinton budgets, including 2000-2001 (note for those who like to tout the problems of early 2009, when Mr. OBAMA was President, the government was still on FY 2008-2009, President Bush’s budget) … was BALANCED (and, actually, slightly in the black. Mr. Bush’s cookie jar).

          I realize that it may be difficult to change your name. But if you again refer to “OBOZO” in any of your writing, you will be totally ignored as a troll. Your call…

          Last: The graphs were sourced by the Obama administration. Not the text (see further down). The source of the money? Easy. By then the government was well into the red — and pumping TRILLIONS that it didn’t have (borrowed money) into the economy. (If you’re going to argue this, then YOU tell ME where all that borrowed money went if not into the economy, for hammers, and bombs, and drones, and toilet seats, and C-rations…)
          In the meantime — I don’t know where the labels on the lower half of the graph came from. You showed the graph from which you’re drawing your conclusions — but not the source of your graph, so it’s suspect.
          THIS ONE is from the General Accounting Office — showing the Federal Debt vs. GDP. You’ll have to put the dots in the web address…

          Re BTW2: No. Sorry. The present tax rates are NOT Mr. Obama’s. He wouldn’t have authorized them had they come to him as new. There was no way the Republican Congress, in 2011, would have stood for cutting them (the reduction, i.e., letting them go back up). Somehow, the voting public has begun to figure this out (they’re just a bit slower about things down South…). Now they’re ripe for trimming (i.e., let the cuts expire). If Washington is smart, they’ll let them ALL expire shortly.

          • ObozoMustGo says:

            Lizzy… I agree with you on 2 things:

            1) Let the current tax rates expire and go back to them. The problem with the Bush rates is that it shrunk the tax base to fewer people. Let them go up.

            2) Bush was a fiscal disaster. I’ll admit that. But you gotta admit that BHO is 2x as bad.

            Regarding the wars: Get out of Afghanistan IMMEDIATELY. You guys love to blame Bush for it but the truth is that your guy has amped up this war BIG TIME. And he’s the one that said we will be there for another 10 years. There is no helping a bunch of nomadic tribes build a democratic culture and we’ve already killed enough terrorists to walk away happy. Here’s my suggested foreign policy: If Americans or American interests are attacked and your country has responsibility, we bomb you into the stone age, destroy every stinking piece of valuable infrastructure, and walk away. No nation building. We just destroy you and leave the mess for your to clean up.

            Here are the facts about Afghanistan GWB compared to BHO. I’ve posted this before so I’ll just cut and paste again. From the DoD budgetary numbers, here are some facts:

            Total Cost of Afghan War since 2001 = $557B
            Total spent since Obozo took office in 2009 = $385B


            Here’s some more shocking numbers about Afghan that the media just ignores:

            Total casualties in Afghan war from 2001 to 2008 = 2,638 Americans
            Total casualties in Afghan war from 2009 to 2012 = 14,000 and change


            Here’s some more for you, Howie:

            Total dead in Afghan war from 2001 to 2008 = 625 Americans
            Total dead in Afghan war from 2009 to 2012 = 1,474


            Regarding your statement about BHO taking over with Bush’s budget. True. But Bush did NOT add nearly a TRILLION to that year’s spending by signing the so-called “stimulus package” in Feb. 2009. Your guy did that. Was that not in the budget? Of course it was. Then he baselined it into every years’ spending from then on, and never passed a budget specifically for the purpose of spending like a drunken sailor (sorry for the insult drunken sailors) and being able to blame Bush for it. As a man, doesn’t it sicken you that your guy cannot accept responsibility for his own actions? The SOB is STILL blaming Bush. At what point does he take ownership for his own results? At what point does he come out and say “I can no longer blame Bush”? You and I both know the answer to that one, Lizzy. NEVER!!!!!

            As to how do we go back to the spending levels of Clinton? Good question. I’d be in favor of either of 2 choices: 1) getting rid of all the new spending programs that were enacted after 2001 (difficult), or 2) Scale everything back proportionately and do what is needed to reform programs that should be means tested. Some things like the study of cow farts and silly garbage like that should be wiped out completely. It aint gonna be easy, but we need an adult conversation from our politicians about our national finances. Too bad that’s not likely to happen.

            The chart that I posted for you is from the 2012 Economic Report of the President available at whitehouse(dot)gov. It’s cited on the bottom of the chart.

            Where did all the money go? That’s a good question. One that Congress tried to look into and were mostly stonewalled by the Regime. We do know that hundreds of billions were routed to shore up union pension funds. But if you are implying that government debt spending is good for the economy, the results do not prove you correct. If that were the case, why hasn’t the economy grown even at the rate of $1 for $1 of money spent? In other words, if we ran the debt up $6T in 4 years, why hasn’t the economy grown by that much? It hasn’t. Keynesian theory has been debunked big time. It’s now more appropriately referred to as Keynesian Fantasy, cause that’s all it is.

            Your assessment that defense spending is good for the economy is correct. In fact, defense just happens to be the #1 purpose and responsibility of the Federal government. We all get value from defense. It’s the other things that the Fed wastes trillions on that we don’t really need from the federal government. That’s where the real discussion needs to be held, Lizzy. What is the proper role of the Federal Government? This is the heart of the discussion. It all begins there. And we already have a rule book that defines the Fed’s role. It’s called The Constitution. That little document that’s been ignored mostly since Woodrow Wilson, with minor exception. We are in a post-Constitutional period now, and that’s why we are in such a mess.

            Good discussion, Lizzy. Thank you. Have a great day!

            “Every nation that has ended in tyranny has come to that end by way of good order. It certainly does not follow from this that peoples should scorn public peace, but neither should they be satisfied with that and nothing more. A nation that asks nothing of government but the maintenance of order is already a slave in the depths of its heart; it is a slave of its well-being, ready for the man who will put it in chains.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville

          • Lisztman says:

            You’re making up numbers. You’re refusing my simple request to honor your President by using his name properly. You still refuse to supply sources.
            You’re a jerk; an idiot. And I’m being polite. Good-bye.

          • ObozoMustGo says:

            Lizzy, just because you don’t like the numbers doesn’t make them untrue. Those numbers are from DoD budget and casualty records, if you are talking about Afghanistan in your remarks. And I did supply sources. I told you exactly where you can get the information that I cited. Are you too stupid to do it yourself? Or do you need me to hold your hand? I had hopes for you being a rational guy, but apparently you’re too locked into the mindset that others MUST have respect for the piece of sheet that currently occupies the White House. I don’t have any respect for that man, and I’ve told you why. I did have respect for you, but you have lost any of what you had with your response. Maybe you’ve hit the bottle of Jack a little to early today, Lizzy.

            Have a nice day!

            “No man’s life, liberty, or property is in so much danger as when the legislature is in session.” – Mark Twain

          • Lisztman says:

            Good-bye, jerk.

    • Lisztman says:

      P.S. Why is it that the Democrats must decrease spending AND decrease taxes — but the Republicans (I know you said “conservatives” but “Republican” is the opposite of “Democrat”) are permitted to address spending but not revenue? Seems rather lopsided, does it not?

      • ObozoMustGo says:

        Not at all lopsided, Lizzy. 5 things need to be said:

        1) Tax rate reductions have resulted in increased revenue every time they have been done.

        2) Our problem is not a revenue problem. It’s a spending problem. You know this. Don’t confuse the 2.

        3) Show me one time… just one time…. when an increase in rates or revenues has resulted in reduced spending. You can’t do it.

        4) Under no circumstances is taking more resources from the private sector good for the economy.

        5) Tell my exactly how taxing people more is good for the middle class. I am waiting to hear your answer.

        Have a nice day!

        “Rule of thumb… never trust what comes from the mouth of a socialist politician. They are only lying to you so they can spend other people’s money to build up their own power base and bureaucracy… and buy votes” – ObozoMustGo

  30. howa4x says:

    The average American is starting to realize that the house of representatives and republicans in the seante have tried to thwart every attempt Obama made to get the economy going again. they wouldn’t pass the jobs bill and only wiht everyone all over them passed the transportaton bill.The only thing the house did while the economy was trying to recover was to vote to repeal Obama/Romney care 33 times. The tea party set the tone for no compromise and the rest of the republicans went merrily along. Mitch McConnell put in more filibusters than any senate in history. All this was to make Obama a one term president. Grover’s pledge was a way to keep wayward republicans in line. They didn’t want anyone wandering off the reservation. So all this effort to bring down Obama only brought them down. The republicans lost control of the senate to a president in a weak economy, and there were 1 million more votes cast for democrats in the house than republicans but gerrymandering saved them this time. The public wants to see action not delay. Republicans know they will be rightfully blamed if we go over the hyped up slope. Their insistance to protect the ultra wealthy while sacrificing the middleclass is there for everyone to see. The more Grover squeals, the better it is for democrats. His constant threats expose republicans as more concerned about the next election than what is good for the country. With Obama standing firm there is very little wiggle room for Boehner. This is what happens when you go out to destroy someone else, instead of being a partner in solving the problems in this country. Whatever happens to republicans after this they deserve it all.

  31. dalnb says:

    Any referall to Grover Norquist, Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove after the next couple of years should only be found in history books. The fools who stritted their time on the stage and are never to be heard from again!

  32. Paul Kennedy says:

    Here’s another suggestion for those who’ve pledged and now need to justify taking a more reasonable position:
    You pledged never to raise taxes *above the rate that they were at the time you pledged”. Clearly if George Bush has since lowered the rates it’s reasonable return them to the levels they need to be at.
    The tax cuts were *temporary*. They expire at the end of 2012. Not renewing the cuts is not the same as raising taxes.
    There’s general agreement that the super-rich are not paying enough tax. Bush’s tax cuts went too far. Let’s get this fixed.

  33. TS_1 says:

    Just had to add “both sides do it” – well in this case only one side does it – the GOP – home to those who support 1% of the population.

  34. Jack Wormer says:

    As for that Norquist-character…..WHOM THE GODS WISH TO DESTROY, THEY FIRST ELEVATE…

  35. Gargoyle905 says:

    I would pose the following questions to the article’s author: “Is it possible that the Republican politicians who are now rejecting the Norquist proposal simply see it as following the wishes of the American public? After all, they, as a party, ran on the idea of “no tax raises EVER” and, well, they lost the election. They didn’t win the presidency, they didn’t take control of the Senate, and while they didn’t lose control of the House, they did lose seats. Mr. Pitts, if the electorate chooses, through their votes, not to follow a particular path, should not their wishes take precedence over your ideology?”

    • Lisztman says:

      I’m very confused by your question, sir, to Mr. Pitts: “If the electorate chooses not to follow a particular path, should not their wishes take precedence over your ideology?”

      Mr. Pitts makes the explicit statement that the whole “oath to Mr. Norquist” was rather “dumb” to begin with. He also specifically states “don’t say ‘never'” or “ever, ever…”

      This is NOT at odds with your question. “These lawmakers leave us wondering once again whether the vast majority of them — right and left, red and blue, Republican and Democrat — really believe in anything, beyond being re-elected.” THAT is the point of Mr. Pitts’ arguments. In this particular instance the “defendants” (for lack of a better word) believed SO strongly in “no taxes” that they took an oath. Swearing to an oath — affixing one’s name to it for all the world to see — is more than a little stronger than offering a campaign speech like thus: “I believe we should not (or, simply, ‘I won’t’) raise taxes.” As GHW Bush figured out, post-“read my lips”, times change. Circumstances change. Give President Bush I credit for doing what was necessary, even though it may have cost him the 1992 election.

      And so, had the lawmakers (who signed Norquist’s oath) been true to what NOW appears to be their colors (not red, nor blue, but whatever it was that the voters wanted), would they not have exhibited the wisdom to express themselves in somewhat more malleable terms? Thus giving them a “way out” when the necessity now arises?

      The oath was expedient toward winning an election. The problem they (the signers) have now is that it is NOT politically expedient to hold on to said oath. If they change their mind, now, because the electorate (“through their votes,” as you put it) supports them — it becomes obvious that they never should have gone so far as taking a Norquist “oath” in the first place.

      Mr. Pitts is VERY careful to NOT express an ideology herein (even though any reader of his columns will know that he stands somewhere to the left of center). It is not his ideology that raises the question. The entire column says, in short, “How could these guys be so ‘dumb’ (his word) as to sign an oath? For now, they’re fried by that oath.” If they now support an upward shift in taxes (even allowing a “temporary” tax abatement to expire on schedule) they’re either admitting that they were totally dumb when they signed it, or that they have no moral compass. In either case, the electorate deserves better, and ultimately “their votes” may well hang the Republicans…

  36. For any fact based discussion, we need the CBO or ? to estimate what deficit (s) exist each year forward assuming a slow linear return to full employment.
    Since each of the budget cuts we claim to love (remember, my view of “pork” may be your job!) is nothing but job reductions… with the attendant unemployment costs and loss of tax revenue …. Austerity is not all it is claimed to be…
    How big a budget hole are we really left to fill?
    Cutting things like the EPA Education, Food Inspection, and such are Banana Republic economics..
    Do we all want to be sick as well as unemployed and poor?

  37. all life long leaches in office in this country need to be run out of town, after a good ole’ tar and feathering. nazi asskissers like norquist and the rest of todays gop should fade away, forcably away, if nessarry.

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