The tax activist is defending his legacy in the New York Times today. The actual effect he's unwittingly had? Making bigger government more palatable.
In 1986, Grover Norquist and his organization, Americans for Tax Reform, created the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," which he describes as "a simple, written commitment by a candidate or elected official that he or she will oppose, and vote against, tax increases." It has recently come under repeated fire: it became a tool for ethanol subsidy apologists, for example, and most recently, it emerged as a needless obstacle in negotiations over raising the debt ceiling.
Responding to his critics, Norquist has taken to the op-ed page of the New York Times this morning to defend his legacy:
Contrary to the hopes of some that I am somehow softening the pledge, it is stronger and more important than ever: it has made it easier for members of Congress to credibly commit to voters that they will refuse to increase taxes and instead focus on reducing the cost of government.
In fact, it is more important than ever to be rid of The Pledge, because it has been a colossal failure. Does anyone think that fiscal conservatives should be happier with the state of our nation's finances now than they were when the pledge began 25 years ago? Does anyone still harbor the illusion that "starve the beast" is an effective method of shrinking the federal government?