Anti-tax activist forgot his past alliances with progressives
An anti-tax activist told an audience at a conservative forum recently that the left on the political spectrum consisted of nothing more than “competing parasites,” not “friends and allies” of the right.
“If we say no to tax increases, stop throwing money, they will cheerfully gnaw at the guy sitting next to them,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said in his talk during the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday.
Norquist described the left as “the takings coalition” as opposed to “the leave-us-alone coalition” on the right.
The left consisted of “labor unions, trial lawyers, big city political machines” and people who in government welfare programs and people who manage those welfare programs, he explained.
“Usually, they want money. Yours. And it goes to them,” Norquist said of the left.
The people on right, on the other hand, simply “want to be left alone,” he said, insisting, “We don’t want other people’s money. We don’t want other people’s time. We don’t want to live other people’s lives for them.”
“We just want to run our lives and have liberty,” he added.
Norquist then likened those on the left to bank robbers in the movies, sitting around a table splitting the stolen loot amongst them. And a part of their so-called heist consisted of those federal funds that bailed out Wall Street during the financial crisis in 2008.
“You notice that the first thing [President] Obama did when he showed up was take $800 billion and throw it in the center of the table and $350 billion from TARP and set it on the table,” he said.
Norquist continued, “And you got a $1 trillion-plus on the center of the table, and our friends on the left can get along.”
However, Norquist ignored the fact that the cause of the financial crisis — the housing bubble — started under President Bill Clinton and deteriorated under President George W. Bush. Moreover, the key legislative issue for the US labor unions — the Employee Free Choice Act — failed to pass the Democratically-controlled Congress during the first half of Obama’s current term.
While smearing the left and honoring the right, Norquist seemed to have also forgotten several progressive/libertarian coalitions in which he joined in recent years on a number of agenda items on which he and his left-leaning allies found common ground.
For example, in 2009, Norquist joined a coalition aimed at stopping Ben Bernanke’s confirmation as Federal Reserve chief until the Fed had been audited. Among his progressive allies were Dean Baker, co-director of Center for Economic and Policy Research; Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen; and Jane Hamsher, founder of liberal blog FireDogLake.
Hamsher also noted other instances in which Norquist has aligned himself with progressives on such issues as the Patriot Act, national ID cards, and medical marijuana.
In response to criticism of her seeking Norquist as an ally against the bailout of Fannie/Freddie in 2009, Hamsher wrote, “The ground is shifting. You can feel it.”
This video is from CSPAN, broadcast Feb. 11, 2011, as snipped by Mediaite.