Whatever you might think of Grover Norquist, he has a book out recently that I think Republicans ought to read. Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform, and has spent a lot of time studying the history of taxation in this country. Even his book's title Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives tells you a lot about where he is coming from.
Norquist is serious, and people are listening. Witness the first ever Debate for RNC Chair hosted by Americans for Tax Reform and moderated by Norquist himself. That's some stroke, right there, to be able to get all chair candidates for a televised debate in which almost none of the viewers are allowed to vote. Norquist calculated, correctly, that the exposure to publicity among lower-level party activists would keep the candidates engaged in talking about issues rather than merely strong-arming their way to the top of the party. It's as if the "incumbent" Duncan has none of the benefits that usually accrue to officeholders.
But back to the book. Norquist systematically analyzes the history of different tax battles in ths country, and proposes strategies and tactics to continue to push for tax cuts in many areas. He takes on the Death Tax (we have to keep calling it that!) and capital gains taxes, as well as the different ways the politicians involved have tried to confuse the issue.
The main thing I'm taking away is that there are two groups in this country. Yes, a sharply divided America, but not for the reasons the media tell you. Norquist puts it this way:
"[The Takings Coalition] views the proper role of government as taking things from one group and giving them to someone else. Taking what? Money, property, power and control.They start with money.Often for themselves. Who are they in favor of taking it from? You and me, the taxpayers."
"[The Leave Us Alone Coalition] is a coalition of groups and individuals that have one thing in common. They do not want the government to give them something. Or take something from others. On the key issue that motivates their vote, they want one simple thing from the government: They just want to be left alone."
Politicians line up generally on one side or the other. Sustainable economic development and personal freedom result from putting the Leave Us Alone Coalition representatives in power. Depressed economic conditions, loss of liberty and theft on a national scale result when the Takings bunch are in control.
It's that serious. We can argue about how this or that politician didn't line up perfectly with our views on one issue or another, but we have to face this truth. We have a much better chance of getting real economic growth and serious tax reform with a RINO than we ever will with the most centrist Democrat. Not because the centrist Democrat wouldn't want to vote for those things; he just might. But are you going to trust a first-term Democrat congressman to go up successfully against Nancy Pelosi?
The reason ANY centrist Democrats were elected in the recent past is because in the past Daschle and Reid and Pelosi allowed them to run as far to the right as they wanted in campaigns, as long as they understood that when the votes came down, they had to deliver. And apparently we weren't focused on winning, but on making a point.
In order to get anything done we have to elect over 62 Republicans to the Senate (to allow for squishiness) and significantly more than a majority in the House. If that's not JOB #1 right now, we're wasting our breath, and we'll lose a generation or two of opportunity to thwart the Takers from using our money to buy votes and power for themselves.
Choose now. The work has already begun for 2010.