Blaming Grover

Apparently Rex Nutting didn't get the memo. Nutting, a Marketwatch columnist who is the poster child for the maxim that a master's degree doesn't mean you actually know what you're talking about, lists Grover Norquist eighth on his list of "10 people who led us to the 'fiscal cliff.'" Eighth!

By listing Mr. Norquist, the President of Americans for Tax Reform and perhaps the most successful individual bulwark against higher income tax rates for two decades, behind former President George W. Bush and the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors in terms of responsibility for the "fiscal cliff," Nutting has obviously missed the talking points that Democrats are trumpeting and useful idiots are parroting.

Sadly, by "useful idiots" I don't mean the media, whose complicity in the growth of government is perennial, as much as I mean gullible Republicans, desperately seeking to be seen as participating in "cooperation" and "balance," code words which mean today what they always mean: Republicans buying into Democrat proposals and getting little or nothing in return.

The biggest arrow in Grover Norquist's quiver is the Taxpayer Protection Pledge which ATR asks candidates to sign, and which most Republicans do indeed agree to with at least superficial enthusiasm. By signing, politicians promise to "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and… oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."

In the upcoming 113th Congress, there are 219 Representatives and 39 Senators who have signed the pledge. With the exception of Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), all the signers are Republicans. Sixteen GOP House members have not signed, along with six GOP senators although at least two (Jeff Flake of Arizona and Tom Barrasso of Wyoming) are not likely to succumb to the worst of Potomac Fever.

Unfortunately, several of those who have signed are now showing indications of Gelatinous Spine Syndrome, a Republican-selective symptom of Potomac Fever which precedes total collapse of both spine and cerebrum and allows a senator to be elected in Maine. Republican senators who are walking away from their "no tax increase" pledge include not just the usual suspects such as Lindsey Graham (SC) and John McCain (AZ), but relative newcomers to such intense levels of squish, such as Bob Corker (TN) and Saxby Chambliss (GA). Even Jeff Sessions, usually more reliable than other veteran GOP senators, seems to be mistaking "the political reality of the president's victory" for a non-existent mandate to implement highly destructive tax policy. Political epidemiologists are very worried about the spread of the disease from the Northeast into the previously resistant South.

Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:

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