Friday, December 7, 2012

Simpson vs. Norquist

He is what is traditionally called a conservative Republican. He’s no saint, often wrong, but never uncertain. He loves his country and is more than willing to use his powers of persuasion to get his way to protect it. He’s irascible and unafraid of taking on powerful interests. He is retired U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo. 

Like him or not, Simpson has been a hard-core advocate of controlling government spending. He’s been clear about where he stands and is willing to take on interests like the American Association of Retired Persons. However, he’s also willing to take on right-wing money interests, including those behind the pledge never to vote for any tax increase.

Republicans across the board, fearing well-funded primary campaigns, have signed the pledge authored by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Simpson is not impressed with such pledges or that public servants are afraid to act in the public interest.

When Simpson set the goal of balancing the federal budget during his time in office, he was willing to point out that doing the job of budgeting is not possible without a willingness to raise revenue.

While Norquist has bullied virtually every current Republican member of the House and Senate to resist the compromises inherent in lawmaking, Simpson recently dismissed the man and the pledge as contemptible.

“So how do you deal with guys who came to stop government, to drown government in the bathtub?” he asked.

In typically overstated form, Simpson added, “I hope he slips in there with it.” While the statement is shocking, the senator’s goal of ending budget pussyfooting and posturing is what the nation needs.

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