Norquist 2012: Fade to Grey Specter?

I have long questioned the ability of an ideological sophist (lobbyist) to influence (blackmail) the representatives of we, the people, to vote against the interests of the people in order to remain our representatives.  The people’s house, the house of the common man, must, in good conscience, vote in the people’s interest:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies,foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

and subsequently to its constituency (enforceable by Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform):

“I, ______, pledge to the taxpayers of the ______ district of the state of ______ and to the American people that I will:

One, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

Two, to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

However, Norquist has become a power broker more powerful than the speaker of the house and unanswerable to the people.

Grover Norquist, Enemy of the State?

Norquist has connived over the years to get hundreds of members of Congress to violate their own oath of office by pledging to keep billionaires’ taxes low.

AlterNet / By Thom Hartmanncomments_image 112 COMMENTSNovember 26, 2012  |  
Numerous Republican lawmakers have signed a pledge never to vote for tax hikes, over the span of more than two decades.  Is it possible that Grover Norquist, the multi-millionaire K-Street lobbyist long funded by billionaires, is an enemy of the state?  Pretty strong language, but consider that he has connived over the years to get hundreds of members of Congress to violate their own oath of office by pledging a higher oath to keep billionaires’ taxes low than their pledge to the Constitution itself.

 The requirement for Members of Congress to swear an oath to our country is in the Constitution itself, in Article Six:  “The Senators and Representatives … shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution…”

                So, starting with the first Congress, in 1789, members were sworn in by saying, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.”   But during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln supported, and Congress passed on July 2nd, 1862, legislation requiring an oath that added that members of Congress had not previously engaged in any “criminal or disloyal conduct,” which would have included pledging loyalty to the Confederacy.  It was called the “Ironclad Test Oath,” and was designed to keep Confederate sympathizers out of Congress.  If a member swore it, and it was discovered he’d previously violated it by swearing an oath to the Confederacy, he would be prosecuted for perjury.

After the Civil War, that oath was replaced with one that didn’t specifically exclude former members of the Confederacy, but still required members to pledge an oath, first and foremost, to the Constitution.  Now called the “Modern Oath,” it was enacted in 1884 and is used to this day.  Its first sentence says:  “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;…”

And the Constitution, to which they take the Modern Oath, explicitly says that Congress has the explicit power to impose taxes, both to pay for our defense and to provide for the General Welfare of the nation.  The very first sentence of Article One, Section Eight, says: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;…”

So, how is it possible that, when the Constitution explicitly says that one of the specific jobs of Congress is to “lay and collect taxes,” and the oath they take explicitly says that they take will do so “without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion,” that a member of Congress could possibly swear an oath to a multimillionaire K-Street lobbyist to refuse to perform one of their Constitutional duties?

And what sort of member of Congress would willingly swear an oath to a front man for a small group of billionaires, that that member of Congress would violate the oath he or she swore to follow the Constitution without “mental reservations” or “purpose of evasion”?  Is not a man who essentially uses threats – blackmail – that billionaire money will be used to politically destroy members of Congress who refuse to sign his pledge an enemy of the state itself – or at least an enemy of the very Constitution that lawmakers have sworn to uphold, without mental reservation or evasion?

Grover Norquist has led hundreds of Republican lawmakers to the brink of treason, swearing to him that they will carry into office mental reservations about the taxation power the Constitution gives them.  It’s high time to dethrone Grover, and let Congress go back to doing its Constitutionally-mandated  job of taking care of the nation’s defense and general welfare, instead of just looking out for the nation’s defense contractors and cranky billionaires.  (

Thom Hartmann is an author and nationally syndicated daily talk show host. His newest book is The Thom Hartmann Reader.

About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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