If policies about complex issues with far-reaching consequences could wisely be based on two, three or four word slogans, Congress could be replaced with a cage full of parrots who cast their votes by squawking “Government is the problem,” “No taxes,” “Starve the Beast.”
This, however, is not a very good mode of governance, the views of Grover Norquist on the matter notwithstanding. The fact that his views today do, in fact, seem to be dominating the behavior of many officials in Washington who are not parrots but people elected to intelligently think about this country’s needs and act accordingly, is thus a symptom of a serious political affliction — LBS, Lazy Brain Symptom.
Norquist’s “Starve the Beast” governing (or more accurately non-governing) prescription is an example of LBS carried to the level of utter political idiocy. Why? Because there are all kinds of taxes for all kinds of purposes, generating good and bad results, affecting different groups in different situations at different times, and on and on and on.
Norquist’s “pledge” is therefore nonsense in every sense. Every true conservative knows that’s so. Every conservative who has successfully governed, from Bismarck to Reagan, has found tax increases of various kinds necessary at times and promoted them to help bring about conservative ends.
Grover Norquist is not a conservative. He is a nobody. A puffed up ideological blowhard. His power is illusionary. Once some form of tax increases are enacted by Congress, which will certainly happen by year’s end or shortly thereafter, he will fade into a well deserved political oblivion.
The sooner this guy and his ridiculous parrot nostrums land in the political trash heap, the sooner Washington will be on its way to a much needed cure for LBS — at least a temporary one, until the next mind-numbing bit of twaddle catches on under the Beltway bubble.