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Grover Norquist and the Death of the GOP

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It was Euripides who said "Those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad."

Grover Norquist should be thinking about that quote from Euripides. Because he's obviously gone mad with power.

He's forced, bullied, and otherwise persuaded most of Republicans in Congress to swear they'll never raise taxes, and he says he's ready to enforce it. If that pledge plunges the federal budget and world's economy into the slough of despond -- well, that's tough. What Little Grover wants, Little Grover gets.

He's probably not thinking about that. He's probably thinking about how close he is to drowning the government in a bathtub. But he should be thinking about it, and about Euripides, because if the Democrats have any brains at all -- and they do have some, anyway -- they can run against that pledge for the next year, sweep the elections, and destroy little Grover in the process.

Here's why. Right now, the Super Committee's failure to do its job and straighten out the nation's finances threatens to kick yet another support from the global house of cards we laughingly called a "system". Together with the molasses-like Euro crisis oozing its way across Europe, the result will give us all a real kick in the pants.

The magic number that supposedly solves all our budgetary problems is $4 trillion in revenues, program cuts, or both -- a magic number the Super Committee was never going to even approximate. Republicans insist the nation's lowest tax rates in 50 years are too high. Democrats refuse to preside over what amounts to national suicide.

The national interest? Who cares?

What the Republicans are really saying of course is that they're afraid of Little Grover and what he calls raising taxes. And they don't really have to be.

Not because Little Grover won't have a fit if they defy him. He will. It's because Republicans can solve this crisis -- and come out of it looking like heroes -- just by keeping their word and letting the so-called "temporary" Bush tax cuts expire -- which is what they promised when they were passed.

And if they don't -- they won't -- Democrats can hammer on the fact that Republicans broke their word, have little honor, and chose disaster over upsetting Little Grover.

This is because allowing the "temporary" Bush tax cuts to expire in 2012 would produce, more or less, the magical $4 trillion, and it's Little Grover's definition of raising taxes that's preventing the Republicans from honoring their word. Master Norquist, you see, says that allowing said cuts to expire as promised is raising taxes, and he's willing to demolish any Republican who says otherwise.

The facts apparently have no place in this matter, so it's a very small step to say -- as many are right now -- that Master Nordquist and his friends at Koch Industries are deliberately destroying the Republican Party -- not to mention the nation -- because they see no reason to be men of honor themselves.

Honor is a quaint notion these days, of course, but in this case, it may prove a useful one, if only because it's not only useful here but, as Henry Kissinger used to say, has the added virtue of being true.

Let every Democrat running for office use these lines as their mantras, and they've got useful weapons that could knock back the right wing for a generation: Your kids are hungry because Republicans broke their word; the Republican's "honor" meant nothing to them; Republicans are afraid of Little Grover.

The bonus: If the Democrats use it, the logic stands a fair chance of breaking Little Grover's stranglehold on a Republican Party that used to be considered the very guardians of fiscal prudence. Certainly, the GOP will blame him for the result.

Nothing's at stake if Democrats don't use it but our future. And all it'll take to use it is a little fortitude -- testicular or otherwise. Of course, that seems to've been in short supply recently in Democratic precincts.

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