Republicans urged to call Democrats’ bluff
Grover Norquist says Republicans will emerge victorious from the â€œfiscal cliffâ€ fight if they put television cameras in the negotiating room and smoke out Democrats over their reluctance to cut entitlement programs â€” the biggest drivers of federal spending and the national debt.
In a meeting with editors and reporters of The Washington Times, Mr. Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform and father of the groupâ€™s influential â€œno new taxesâ€ pledges, said Republicans are at a tipping point after 20 years of building their anti-tax brand, and the most disastrous thing lawmakers in the GOP could do is put their â€œfingerprintsâ€ on a tax increase. It would be better for the party, he said, to get no deal than to sign on to tax hikes.
The influential conservative said that in order for Republicans to come out on top in their showdown with President Obama, every fiscal cliff meeting from here on out should be public.
That, he said, would stop the White House from â€œlyingâ€ to the public about how the president wants to handle the â€œcliffâ€ â€” the expiration of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts and the $110 billion in automatic cuts to domestic and defense spending scheduled to kick in early next year, thanks to the bipartisan deal lawmakers carved out last summer to raise the nationâ€™s borrowing limit.
â€œEverything has to be in front of cameras,â€ Mr. Norquist said, adding that it would be â€œmuch more difficultâ€ for Republicans to come out on top if they continue to meet behind closed doors, because Democrats are saying one thing privately and another thing publicly. â€œThey have been lying about their willingness to reform entitlements.â€