By Harry Welty
Smaller than a Bread Basket
Although most Minnesotans have never heard of him or the organization he is President of (Americans for Tax Reform)
Grover Norquist seems to have single-handedly disqualified Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty from consideration as a
potential presidential nominee of the Republican Party in 2008. While plenty of Minnesotans would not find this very
alarming the man who exercises such power is worth examining.
Grover Norquist's passion, tax reduction, represents one of the more secular impulses of the Republican Party. Like the
internationally interventionist neo-cons and the gun doting NRA types (whose Board Norquist sits on) his interests are
less theological than those of the religious ‘conservatives’ whose little engine drives the Party.
Just how secular was inadvertently demonstrated a week ago in his reply to a survey by the staff of the New Republic.
The TNR Online asked two-dozen leading conservative thinkers what they thought of the chief bugaboo of the religious right,
evolution. A breathtaking sample of these conservatives believed in evolution although for his part Grover Norquist's response
suggested indifference to the subject. But a throwaway line of Grover’s, which the TNR quoted, was eye popping.
Where evolution was concerned, said Norquist, "The problem here is that you shouldn't have government run schools.
Given that we (Americans for Tax Reform) have to spend all our time crushing the capital gains tax I don't have much time for
Well, thank goodness! Grover is too busy preserving the mammon of America’s richest political contributors and can’t afford
to divert his attention to shutting down public schools. (“Mammon,” by the way, is the Bible's pejorative for ungodly wealth.)
It’s not enough that Americans for Tax Reform has already dealt a deathblow to the Estate Tax. Grover and company won’t
be satisfied until all taxes are stamped out. After that he will he turn his attention to public education.
Norquist’s pet name for government is the "beast" which also happens to be what Revelations, the fire-and-brimstone last book
of the Bible, calls Satan. Norquist’s mission is nothing less than to shrink government down to the size of a breadbasket.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that he has found common cause with religious conservatives.
Norquist’s distaste for the beast puts him just a peg above anarchists who believe that government is the only thing that stands
in the way of utopia. It’s surprising the number of people who hold similar views. Marxist/Leninists regard government as a
temporary condition on the way to the Worker’s Paradise and fundamentalists expect “the elect” to rapture right out of their
clothes directly to heaven as the corrupt reign of man on Earth is brought to a fiery end.
Governor Pawlenty's crime was to have violated a pledge not to raise taxes by proposing a 75 cent-a-pack tax boost on
cigarettes. Why, only the week before Norquist's organization had hailed the Governor as a "Hero of the Taxpayer."
Americans for Tax Reform must have been sorely disappointed in their fallen “hero” once reality kicked in.
From the moment Minnesota Democrats swept so many Republicans legislators out of office in the 2004 elections it was
inevitable that Pawlenty would have to compromise on his tax pledge. Like his allies the Biblical literalists Norquist is a true
believer and has little patience for that dirty political word: compromise.
Putting an end to the teaching of evolution in government-run schools may be down Grover Norquist’s list of priorities but once
he and his allies get rid of public education government really will be smaller than a breadbasket. It will be more like an amoeba.
Now that really is de evolution.
Welty is a small time politician who lets it all hang out at: www.snowbizz.com