Norquist Visits Colorado
by Ari Armstrong, June 11, 2007
Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform visited fiscal conservatives in Colorado on June 11 before heading to Utah. He offered his views on transparency in government spending, health policy, Republican politics in the West and nationally, and the race for president.
Listen to Grover Norquist's interview with the Colorado Freedom Report.
Regarding transparency, Norquist discussed the efforts nationally and in various states to place complete documentation of government spending on the internet. He said, "In Colorado you should take a look at what has passed in other states and look to introduce it this [coming] year. The other thing is, you just need to raise the visibility... The people who are happy with the status quo will of course want to oppose open government. But they are not willing to do it -- openly. So, if you can have a public conversation about what's going on, then it passes with popular support."
I asked Norquist about efforts to "massively increase government's control over health care." Norquist commented, "The Democrats, the liberals, the people pushing for government-run health care are testing every door, checking every window. They want to get to government-run health care. And so they're pushing it in the different states, like Colorado... so watch for them to try, and try, and try again, both the national level and the state level..."
I noted that "there's a Democratic push to take the reins in the West, basically the way that Ryan Sager laid out for them in his 2006 book." My reference was to Sager's The Elephant in the Room, which I've discussed elsewhere. Of course, Sager wasn't trying to help the Democrats; he was trying to warn the Republicans about the coming Democratic challenge. (My readers will recall that I voted for Democrat Bill Ritter over precisely the sorts of issues that Sager raises.)
Norquist responded, "...Sager's analysis, which is that there's an alternative coalition for the center right, that the fiscal-conservative, businessmen, could leave a coalition with traditional-values conservatives and join the Ds, forgets that the Democratic Party is run by labor unions and trial lawyers. And at the end of the day, everybody who cares about government spending, about taxes, about free labor as opposed to labor-union bosses, cannot be in the party of the Democrats. And, to the extend that anyone flirts with that, they will be sorely, sorely disappointed by what the Democrats do to them."
He continued, "So I think that the coalition is actually properly structured, as long as all parts of the coalition understand that they're allowed to ask for protection in their key zone, but they're not allowed to ask for demands... that sometimes some on the religious right have come across, not as a defensive movement, which is how they started, but as an aggressive movement that threatens and upsets others, that causes division. But the general sense that Christian radio should be left alone, and people should be left alone to have religious education, practice their faith, that's something the left can never give them, and it's something that the right's willing to."
With regard to President Bush, Norquist said, "The Bush administration certainly created a challenge with its handling of the Iraq occupation. I hope it's a temporary setback or challenge, because occupying Mesopotamia is not a central part of the Ronald-Reagan coalition. But, certainly on the spending front, when you throw a lot of money at the government, you hire a bunch of Democratic precinct workers, and that's always a mistake."
Norquist also predicted that Hillary Clinton will challenge the Republican who comes to best represent the "center-right conservative movement."