Grover Norquist

For someone who just presided over a 16-day shutdown of the federal government that cost the country an estimated $24 billion and sent his party’s public standing plunging to historic lows, John Boehner is basking in surprisingly mild reviews.

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Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, had lunch with The New Republic staff on Thursday—a rather gentlemanly move, considering that our publication has not always been kind to him.

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In the wake of the government shutdown, it’s clear that Senator Ted Cruz has angered some members of his own party. In a lunch at The New Republic yesterday, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist compared the last two weeks in the House of Representatives to rumspringa, in which Amish teenagers “go to the big city and do sinful things,” and then come home to more sensible ways of life (which he called “Boehner-world”).

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Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, came to the offices of The New Republic Thursday for a wide-ranging discussion on American politics and the future of the Republican Party. Unsurprisingly, the government shutdown and debt ceiling negotiations came up more than once.

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Grover Norquist Isn't Losing Power: He Never Had It

An anti-tax activist in winter

He never had it

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In negotiations over the fiscal cliff and the filibuster, Democrats revert to their natural state: wimpy.

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Since Lanhee Chen joined the Romney campaign in March last year, his public pronouncements have been liberally seasoned with snark. Tweeting about Newt Gingrich during the first Florida debate, he wrote, “Thanks for explaining why you were forced to resign in disgrace, Mr. Speaker.” In April, he tweeted: “[David Axelrod] says Obama to be judged on his record.

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Vice Squad

The GOP primary is not over yet, but, with Mitt Romney firmly in control of the race, it isn’t too soon to begin asking: Who might he select as his running mate? I recently asked about a dozen Republican insiders who they would want to see on a ticket with Romney. (A couple balked at the notion that Romney was a lock for the nomination, but most agreed it was a logical assumption.) The most striking thing that emerged from these conversations was that some Republicans are a lot more excited about the vice presidential choices than about the presidential ones.

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Grover Norquist, Toady

Listening to the ordinarily silver-tongued Grover Norquist, president of Americans For Tax Reform and high priest of the anti-tax movement, try to spit out some justification for the House GOP's Masada-like stance against extending the payroll tax cut is like listening to Porky Pig sing "Blue Christmas." He'll gloat that the Democrats had to back off their millionaire surtax to pay for the payroll tax cut extension. He'll chide Obama for trying to postpone a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.

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On June 8th, a motley coalition of conservative senators and activists huddled in the Cannon Office Building to discuss strategy around Cut, Cap, and Balance, the radical budget proposal to cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP that they hoped to push through Congress in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. After an impassioned prayer for the nation’s future from Senator Jim DeMint, staunch libertarians like Chris Chocola of Club for Growth rubbed elbows with evangelicals like Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America and Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council.

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