Why did ATR’s Grover Norquist abandon conservatives?

Grover Norquist-McCainConservatives in Arizona and across the states were left shaking their heads in doubt when Grover Norquist, head of the vaunted Americans for Tax Reform, announced he was backing John McCain’s re-election bid for the U.S. Senate. While most observers assume McCain would garner much of the Beltway/establishment endorsements, Grover has (like McCain) tried for years to fashion himself something of a maverick, seemingly putting principles ahead of party when push came to shove. Were he defending some newly revealed transgression of, say, Ronald Reagan’s, we’d likely give Grover the benefit of the doubt while rushing to defend the Gipper ourselves. But, Grover, we knew Reagan. Reagan was a friend of ours. And John McCain is no Ronald Reagan.

What makes the Grover-McCain endorsement so strange is that it was painfully obvious Grover clearly didn’t entirely believe what he was saying when he said it. On this Tuesday past, Norquist (calling into Mike Broomhead’s show) explained his rationale, saying he supported McCain’s signing of ATR’s pledge, opposition to federal earmarks, and that McCain “consistently votes against tax increases and for spending restraint.”

Here are the problems: McCain’s opponent in the primary, J.D. Hayworth, has also signed the ATR Pledge (and faithfully kept it while serving in Congress). While McCain is a vocal critic of earmarks, just last year he voted for $180 billion in earmarks (by comparison: the annual General Fund budget for the entire state of Arizona is approximately $10 billion). And as for voting against tax increases and for spending restraint, John McCain was the Republican “maverick” who voted AGAINST the Bush tax-relief bills of both 2001 and 2003 (these are the same tax relief packages we hear so much about today that, if Congress lets them expire could cost American small businesses millions of additional jobs).

As for Mr. Hayworth, it is noteworthy to add that as the only Arizona member of Congress on the tax policy Ways and Means Committee, he helped draft the 2001 and 2003 tax relief acts. Senator McCain called these bills tax cuts for the wealthy, but in reality they reduced taxes for low-income earners from 15% to a new, low 10% tax bracket. They eliminated the marriage penalty. They dramatically increased the child tax credit. They reduced taxes on dividend investment income and capital gains. And, of course, they provided for sunsetting the federal death tax this very year: 2010. Of course, John McCain voted against these important, landmark tax relief measures and now the Congress in which he serves is determined to undo it all.

Why Grover Norquist believes John McCain, who spends hundreds of billions bailing out banks, tries to spend hundreds of billions more trying to bailout crooked mortgages, and on top of it all, wants to spend over $2 Trillion to finance the retirement plans of illegal immigrants, is the right man for the job, is beyond us. Unless it’s just another case of the Washington establishment taking care of their own once again.

At least Bill Bennett was more honest: “Hayworth’s views, if you put them both on paper, are probably closer to my own, but I gotta support John McCain because he’s the man.” Google Bennett and listen to a clip of the 30-second endorsement. It’s the least enthusiastic endorsement ever recorded, suggesting he was paying back a debt owed or, even possibly, he or a member of his family was being held hostage at the time of the taping.

Final thoughts… It’s very early in this campaign. J.D. has not even announced yet. In fact, John McCain was running attack ads against J.D. (on J.D.’s own radio show) even before J.D. began to make plans about the race. Said one PC at last night’s LD21 meeting, “Why couldn’t McCain have run like this against Obama?” The point’s a good one. The McCain folks have frequently proven their willingness to attack fellow Republicans, whether on in the Senate during amnesty debates or here in Arizona in, well, any debate. At this rate, it’s unlikely here in Arizona he’ll be starting every other sentence during the present campaign with the phrase “My friends…”

As for Grover, he may come to find on August 24th that principles still matter most… now more than ever.

– Conservative Name Withheld


  1. OK folks…let’s get something straight here…I comment on this site regularly and have for almost 3 years. I don’t always use the same computer, either. So, my IP address might just change depending on if I’m on my laptop, my home PC or in my office. On occasion others in my household and from my office…adults with minds of their own…have posted using one of those machines, too. I can’t say when or if it has happened recently because I am not the keeper of others time.

    I have not now or ever received a “check” or any form of remuneration from John McCain, a staff member, or anything that could be associated with pay for play.

    I own my beliefs and will not prostitute them for anyone. Those who have a hard time believing that must live in a glass house where challenges of integrity are concerned.

    I have no idea who the other people commenting on this site are. Yes, I do know Shane and he knows me. He has never even hinted at the identity of anyone and I trust he won’t.

    For all of the name calling and calling out that goes on, you would think after awhile people would see it does your point no good and give it up. All of you, on every side of the issue.

  2. Stephen Kohut says

    McCain has a supporter he does not have to pay? Amazing!

  3. Someone here stated here that McCain “has proven himself this past year” to be fighting for us….shouldn’t he be fighting for us throughout his entire 6 year term?

    Supporting conservative principals should not be done only prior to elections. But rather, it should be something our candidates do every day. If you look at McCain’s record this past six years, you will see that on many issues he has abandoned us. McCain is hoping that we have forgotten, but we have not. And no amount of money, or endorsements from those inside the beltway, can change that.

  4. Yeah, right. says

    Ye gawds, Norquist supports McSame, gee whatta surprise!

    If I had to choose between anybody with half a brain and JD, I would choose the anybody.

    As for choosing the obvious, well, McSame will beat JD, and then DSW will be unemployed again.

    As for Rachel- good luck with your next job- we all know how competent you are now- I read a couple of your sad pleadings.

    One of the drawbacks of fame is that you will have to work for a Dennis W- good luck with that.

    • Yeah, right:

      I’ve gone back and looked at all your comments since June of 2009 and you really don’t play well with all the other commenters. In fact, I’d say you were a pure misanthrope. Would love to meet you someday to prove you wrong. On being a misanthrope, that is.

  5. This is too funny – whenever, my life gets a bit boring, I come here — thanks for the laughs!!!

  6. #46 Stephen Kohut Says:
    “$5M does not buy PC’s, grassroots support, feet on the ground for GOTV. It does not buy invitations to speak at conservative groups throughout the state….” etc.

    I came out west to see how it’s going for JD at home. Personally I have been a supporter and was very disappointed at his loss in `06.

    Back at IAF, everyone was shocked from the comments at the RedState
    ( http://www.redstate.com/jdhayworth1/2010/02/03/jd-hayworth-why-i-will-challenge-john-mccain-2/ ).
    It was taken a a bell weather for what’s happening here and the major AZ MSM reinforce that.

    The enthusiasm here is strong and I don’t doubt your grass roots power and the McCainbots are like mosquitoes, but as they say,35% of voters can be convinced to vote for a dead cow.

    Won’t you need money and support to engage more than your strong base?

    Moneybombs from sources like: “TheOtherMcCain”, RedState, & SCF (well, it looks like DeMint’s going to ride the fence-(that can be made positive), would surely help.

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