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‘Plan B’ Proves Grover Norquist’s Pledge Is A Sham

Memo Pad Politics

‘Plan B’ Proves Grover Norquist’s Pledge Is A Sham


Who knows what the point of  Speaker Boehner’s doomed “Plan B” was? Why would Republicans vote for a bill that includes tax increases knowing that it has no chance of becoming law?

It could just have been a ploy to save Boehner’s job. It could have been a ploy to make it look as if the Speaker has tried everything before he eventually compromises, taking the deal the White House really wants him to take. Most likely it was the ploy of a politician who knows he can’t pass anything, so he’s trying to pin blame on the president for what the GOP has decided to call “the largest tax increase in history” — rehashing a claim they used against Bill Clinton in 1993.

But Speaker Boehner deserves a lot of credit for so clearly exposing Grover Norquist’s American Taxpayer Pledge as an out-and-out sham.

“Plan B” should, by definition, be considered a violation of said pledge — which has defined Republican ideology and policy since George H.W. Bush was abandoned by the far right for violating his “no new taxes” promise.

Of course, “Plan B” is no real concession to anyone but the rich. The bill raises taxes on millions of middle-class Americans while actually cutting them on about half of the richest 1 percent.

But it raises taxes.

For that reason, the two biggest anti-tax groups on the right — FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth — have come out against the bill. FreedomWorks first supported the plan and Thursday afternoon decided they couldn’t. The Club for Growth never bought the House GOP’s spin that seeks to cast the bill as a tax cut.

“On the substance, this bill is anti-growth,” Andrew Roth wrote on The Club’s blog. It increases tax rates for those making over $1 million while also raising taxes on capital gains and dividends. We don’t buy into the Washington-speak, suggesting that these are actually tax cuts.”

But Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform took no such principled stand.

The organization would not consider a vote  for “Plan B” a violation of the pledge. Why?

Because Norquist uses “Washington-speak” to justify this distortion of his principles. Since the Bush tax cuts were temporary, only keeping them on incomes up to $1 million isn’t an increase, it’s a cut. Given this argument, voting for the Senate bill which extends the tax cuts on incomes up to $250,000 and prevents middle-class tax increases shouldn’t violate the pledge — except that Democrats support it.

Just three weeks ago, Norquist told the Washington Times that he couldn’t support a proposal that sounds eerily similar to “Plan B” because it could lead to a headline that suggested “Republicans agree to tax increases.”

Norquist is obviously eager to avoid a situation where to enforce his pledge he has to primary-challenge most Republicans in the House. So for the sake of appearances, he refused to take a existential challenge to his longstanding tax papacy. The Grover Infallibility Doctrine retains his virtue and his importance as a looming figure who seems to have a sexual fetish for cutting taxes.

Boehner and his minority leader, Eric Cantor, claimed they have the votes to pass “Plan B” when the  House GOP introduced it. But they spent all Thursday adding cuts to food stamps, Meals on Wheels, health insurance exchanges and Wall Street oversight to make the right happy.

So now that the vote failed, we know that Grover has no clothes. And that’s not a pretty mental image.

But Grover has a way out, of course. When he realized “Plan B” was going down, this note was added to the the statement on Americans for Tax Reform’s website:

UPDATE: Despite inaccurate press reports, the statement above is not to be misconstrued as an endorsement of any legislation.

Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file


  1. bcarreiro December 20, 2012

    these guys like to buy time cause they got nothing to lose ………….only to gain millions of middle class tax dollars earned by hard working men and women. repatative repulsive roaches!!!

    1. William December 21, 2012

      And people continue to vote for the GOP, go figure.

  2. Baron Cormac December 21, 2012

    All the Republicans who lost their reelections or are retiring should say “To Hell with this” and join with the Democrats to pass something. After all, they have nothing to lose. THEIR pensions are secure!

  3. Dominick Vila December 21, 2012

    Who cares what Norquist, a former lobbyist, has to say on anything? If Republicans in Congress put their pledge to Norquist ahead of their Oath of Office, they should be impeached and removed from Congress immediately.
    Boehner is playing a game, hoping the President will blink first and offer concessions the GOP can then use to score points in 2014. The Social Security COLA issue is a case in point. Don’t forget what happened to Clinton when he agreed to sign the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act presented to him by Republicans, in exchange for staying in office after an impeachment that should have never taken place. Don’t truth the GOP, they speak with forked tongues.

    1. johninPCFL December 21, 2012

      In case you missed the other shoe that dropped yesterday, any bill coming from the Senate can’t change tax policies. There’s that tricky phrase in the Constitution that says “revenue bills shall originate in the House”.

  4. nobsartist December 21, 2012

    grover is a sham, a scam and an overpaid loser. The perfect face for republiCON dogma.

  5. RobertCHastings December 21, 2012

    Obama has no intention of raising any taxes. He and the Democrats merely wish to return the tax rates to what they were 12 years ago. That is, as George H. W. Bush would say,no new taxes. However, Bush was in error, for his requested increase in FICA WAS a new tax, at least taking an existing tax and raising its rate to a new level. Obama would take the highest rate, now at 35%, and raise it to where it was 12 years ago, 39.6% That is not a new tax! Obama has offered concessions and compromises, none of which have been acceptable.
    What MUST be remembered, however, is that the negotiating over spending cuts does not take into account the nearly $800B in reductions Obama has ALREADY instituted, by streamlining and cleaning up Medicare, and the additional savings of $200B annually by getting us out of Iraq. What have the Republicans offered that is concrete and sustainable?

  6. howa4x December 21, 2012

    Norquist was sitting there when the republican icon Reagan raised taxes, 6 times so who is he kidding. Reagan worked with Tip O’Neil for the good of the country not the good of the party.
    Grover’s dogmatic pledge that he made everyone sign, didn’t anticipate changes, or deficits. So here we are with every major economist saying we just can’t cut our way out of this and we need revenue, and Grover disagreeing. Even Simpson/Bowles came to the same conclusion. The best is that it was the republicans under GWB that created the deficits to begin with starting 2 unfunded was, the medicare drug benefit and the tax for the rich cut. Grover just wants to CYA so he went along with the millionairs threshold.

    So now all Grover is really saying is I know we created the problem, but you can only fix it my way. Republicans have a choice, work for the benefit of the American people or work for Grover

    1. William December 21, 2012

      I doubt Reagan hurt the rich much his tax increases, remember his trickle down. Grover and the GOP don’t seem to have the same opinion on taxes when they effect the middle class and the poor, yet they still have support there, go figure!

  7. I Zheet M'Drawz December 21, 2012

    Isn’t this prick on the board of Directors for the NRA?

  8. William December 21, 2012

    The President needs to remember the people who voted for him before he agrees to cuts to programs they depend on.

  9. Hogshooter December 28, 2012

    Nice read, but in the end the question for me remains and has always been from the first time I heard this asshole’s name…who the fuck gives two shits what Grover Norquist thinks about anything and why does he hold this power over our policy-makers anyway? It’s infuriating in a way that I can’t find the words to express. Can anyone, even the republicans who answer to him, give me a solid reason? Just one?

    1. TeeTime August 1, 2013

      My sentiments exactly. He has the GOP by the gonads because he has contacts and influence with the powers that be–corporations and banks– and that seems to trump any allegiance to their country or constituents.

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