Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has become the latest Republican politician to see the writing on the wall and break with anti-tax guru Grover Norquist. America has voted for socialism, and socialism is what it is going to get, and the statesmanlike Saxby is not going to be the one who stands athwart history and shouts, “Stop!” And yet, as craven as Chambliss’s capitulation to the forces of unrestrained government power is – and it is craven indeed – there is one thing the august Georgia solon has right: it’s time to break with Grover Norquist.
“I care more about this country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” Chambliss thundered piously. “If we do it his way, then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.” In other words, there is no chance whatsoever to rein in the ever-galloping growth of government spending, and so Americans are just going to have to pony up more to feed the socialist leviathan. After all, we can’t expect that people will perform key services like reading our emails or making sure we aren’t drinking sugary drinks for free. And Saxby Chambliss, part of the ever spineless, gutless, clueless, directionless, visionless Republican establishment, is going to make sure they are duly remunerated for their service to Big Brother.
Norquist’s response was an indication of how utterly the anti-tax idol has failed. “Senator Chambliss,” he huffed, “promised the people of Georgia he would go to Washington and reform government rather than raise taxes to pay for bigger government. He made that commitment in writing to the people of Georgia.” Yet while the good people of Georgia may really want to reform government rather than raise taxes to pay for bigger government, the majority of their countrymen do not. In 1984, Walter Mondale’s promise to raise taxes was the kiss of death for his presidential campaign; in 2012, after over twenty years of Grover Norquist’s anti-tax crusade, Barack Obama made raising taxes the linchpin of his campaign, and was decisively reelected.
Not only has Norquist spectacularly failed to convince the American people that an out-of-control megastate that confiscates the fruit of the labors of the industrious is to be rejected; he has also tied the Republican Party to a disastrously self-defeating posture toward Islamic supremacism. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) called Norquist out for this on the House floor in October 2011, saying of the anti-tax hero: “Documentation shows that he has deep ties to supporters of Hamas and other terrorist organizations that are sworn enemies of the United States and our ally Israel.” He pointed out that “around the years 2000 and 2001, Mr. Norquist’s firm represented Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was convicted two years later for his role in a terrorist plot and who is presently serving a 23-year sentence in federal prison.”
Norquist, reported Wolf, “also associated with terror financier Sami Al-Arian, according to Mary Jacoby’s reporting in March 2003, in the St. Petersburg Times. Al-Arian pled guilty in 2006 ‘to a charge of conspiring to provide services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a specially designated terrorist organization, in violation of U.S. law,’ and is under house arrest, according to a Department of Justice press release. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s ‘paramilitary wing—the al-Quds Brigades—has conducted numerous attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings,’ according to the National Counterterrorism Center.”
These are the kinds of people for whom Norquist opened doors. Norquist, said Wolf, “served as a key facilitator between Al-Arian, Alamoudi and the White House.…In June 2001, Al-Arian was among the members of the American Muslim Council invited to the White House complex.…The next month, the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom — a civil liberties group headed by Al-Arian — gave Norquist an award for his work to abolish the use of secret intelligence evidence in terrorism cases.”
Wolf also pointed out that Norquist tied his anti-tax work to his agitation for Islamic supremacist causes: he “even used Americans for Tax Reform to circulate a petition in support of the ‘Ground Zero Mosque,’ ” which 70% of Americans opposed. “Why would Americans for Tax Reform,” Wolf asked, “circulate a petition in support of the ‘Ground Zero Mosque?’ For the families of those who lost loved ones on 9/11 or during operations in the War on Terror, concerns about the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ were neither a ploy nor a distraction, as Norquist described it.”
Meanwhile, for fear of crossing Norquist and losing his favor, Republicans for years have been turning a blind eye to all his ties to shady Muslim individuals and groups. If they signed his tax pledge, they were effectively pledging also not to make trouble about the access and influence he was facilitating for people linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Thus was removed the only possible effective counterweight to the Democrats’ active collaboration with Islamic supremacists.
But now Norquist has failed. Taxes are going up. Opposing new taxes is not a winning issue in elections. The Republican Party, after being unable or unwilling to offer a genuine choice, rather than an echo, to the Democrats’ socialist pandering, is in well-deserved ruins. But there may be a silver lining. What is left of the American opposition now has a chance to jettison not only Norquist’s failed tax pledge, as Chambliss has done, but also come out against his enabling of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration. Why should this failed tax crusader continue to hold the loyal opposition hostage?
Of course, there may be a few politicians out there who genuinely oppose Big Government, and want to come out publicly against further tax increases. More power to them, I say, and I hope they have solid job prospects in the private sector. But in the meantime, for their convenience I offer, as an alternative to Norquist’s toxic cocktail of No Taxes Plus Collaboration with Islamic Supremacists, a genuinely pro-freedom tax pledge. Call it the Robert Spencer Tax Pledge. Here it is: “I solemnly pledge to oppose new tax increases, to work to cut existing tax rates, and to oppose Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in our government and the concomitant dismantling of our resistance to the jihad and Islamic supremacism.”
There. I invite any and all politicians to take that pledge. So now Republicans (and Democrats) can’t say they have no alternative to Grover Norquist. It’s time for new approaches, and so here is one.
Meanwhile, a toast to Saxby Chambliss. He may be just another self-serving hack feeding at the public trough, but he has managed to do the right thing, even if by accident: he has thrown off the deleterious influence of the thoroughly compromised Norquist. For that alone, even though he did it for the wrong reasons, he may one day deserve to be called a statesman.