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Is Grover Norquist an ‘Ayatollah,’ a Terrorist, or Just an Evil Warlord?

That’s the question Reason editor Matt Welch asks as he summarizes the completely over-the-top commentary about Grover Norquist these days.

He’s not exaggerating. In outlets such as Slate, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, we’re told that Norquist — a private citizen who argues against tax rate increases — is a “terrorist,” a “stealth tyrant in the …

  1. Anne R. Pierce
    C

    Now that the left has won, their rhetoric seems to have ratcheted up, not down. Those who think we need to dilute our principles and goals of limited government in order to be accepted should take note.  Every move toward the left begets not compromise, but a move still further.

  2. Guruforhire

    If the people that actually voted for republicans didn’t fundamentally agree with Grover, then nobody would care about Grover.

  3. Joe

    If he was an ayatollah, they’d be showing him cultured respect. If he was a terrorist, Reuters would be forcing their reporters to call him a “combatant”. If he was an “evil warlord”, Eric Holder would be sending him guns and ammunition. He isn’t a freedom fighter like Che, so all we’re left with is Hitler and his holocaust of tax sanity. I hope I didn’t just plagiarize the NYT.

  4. Richard Fulmer

    While the rhetoric may be insane, it is also effective.  The “extremist” label seems to have stuck to Mitt Romney.  

  5. Anne R. Pierce
    C
    Richard Fulmer: While the rhetoric may be insane, it is also effective.  The “extremist” label seems to have stuck to Mitt Romney.   · 5 minutes ago

    So true.

  6. Roberto

    The liberal perpetual outrage machine has to have someone to feed on. There is a certain sense of déjà vu, difficult not to be reminded of the attempts earlier this year to drive Mr. Limbaugh from the public square

  7. Diaryof1

    Maybe we should borrow a leftist tactic and accuse the New York Times, et al., of hate speech.

  8. Cunctator

    The strategy of the left and the press (although I repeat myself) – pick someone on the right, isolate, demonize, humiliate, and condemn.  Then portray everyone on the right as exactly like that person

  9. ConservativeWanderer
    Richard Fulmer: While the rhetoric may be insane, it is also effective.  The “extremist” label seems to have stuck to Mitt Romney.   · 17 minutes ago

    Exactly.

    The Libertarians (note the capital L) are very nearly as good at demonizing Republicans as the Obamacrats.

  10. Dex Quire

    When men of words, in this case journalists, resort to this kind of name calling and invective they have failed in their calling. They want the power and immediacy of simile – for simile is a kind of mental shorthand –  but they don’t want to do the work of really coming up with effective imagery. Such exaggerated, idiotic comparisons reveal lazy minds,  hasty fingers at the keyboard (to borrow a figure from Nabokov).

  11. flownover

    As Mr Sulzberger was overheard the other day,” Mr Norquist, I’d like you  to meet Mr Alinsky” .

  12. Donald Todd

    I have more faith in Norquist than I do in the Republicans.  Perhaps I can be politically condemned as well? 

  13. Misthiocracy
    Diaryof1: Maybe we should borrow a leftist tactic and accuse the New York Times, et al., of hate speech.

    Aw, that’s adorable, you poor, naive, deluded, extremist.  

    When conservatives criticize the media it’s obviously a racist violation of the first amendment.

  14. Pseudodionysius

    Speaking of which, Grover has been scarce on Sesame Street these days. Coincidence? I think not.

    Lower taxes? Racist code words.

    English language? Racist code words.

    Feeling angry? Racist code words.

  15. Tommy De Seno
    C

    I decry tax increases, but not in a vacuum as Grover would have me do.  Why would anyone commit to something removed from world realities? 

    Perhaps the problem is that Grover’s assumptions about tax increases being never necessary is so absurd that journalists will straddle the one making the assumption with the criticism of the assumption itself.

    It may not be the best journalism, but it’s hardly unexpected.

    So if my congressman signs the pledge, World War III breaks out and the military needs a cash infusion, I should expect my legislator to look at a soldier and say, “Sorry Son, I made a promise to Grover.”

    Talk about anti-intellectualism.  No wonder our guys are in trouble.

  16. drlorentz

    The shrillness of the criticism tells me Norquist has hit a nerve. Maybe they are running scared. After all, if they were confident in their position post-election, Norquist would be irrelevant.

  17. Percival

    The current Administration has gone George Orwell one better.  You can’t use the same Emmanuel Goldstein all the time; people might get bored with the Two Minutes Hate.  If that ever is allowed to happen, they might start thinking.

  18. Misthiocracy
    Tommy De Seno: I decry tax increases, but not in a vacuum as Grover would have me do.  Why would anyone commit to something removed from world realities?

    Yabbut, even Grover allows for exceptions to the tax “pledge”.

    The question should perhaps be, why would anyone commit to allowing Grover Norquist define the phrase “tax increase” for them?

    I like the spirit of the pledge, because it’s an easily-verifiable way to make sure that a politician is keeping their promise.

    On the other hand, am I crazy to think that political candidates should be responsible for drafting their own campaign platforms and making their own promises?

    The fact that Norquist is necessary (and I do believe he is necessary) is a symptom of the bigger problem. Even conscientious voters, for some reason, aren’t willing to do the work of holding their politicians accountable for their promises, so they rely on organizations like Norquist’s to do the work for them.

    It really shouldn’t be that difficult.  Candidates publish their campaign promises, so you keep a printout of ‘em and place a red x next to each promise they break.

  19. ConservativeWanderer
    Percival: The current Administration has gone George Orwell one better.  You can’t use the same Emmanuel Goldstein all the time; people might get bored with the Two Minutes Hate.  If that ever is allowed to happen, they might start thinking. · 2 minutes ago

    Uh, Percival… Reason magazine is a Libertarian mag, not an Obamacrat mag.

  20. Fredösphere

    For a complete list of possibilities, I always turn to the comic book villain archtypes. Nordquist fits all manner of CBVA descriptions.

    Is he a Cult Leader?

    Cult Leaders rely on belief. Some may literally rely on their followers for superhuman power (the more followers the Cult Leader has, the more potent his superhuman powers become).

    Definitely! And maybe a Dominator?

    The Dominator makes you do something you don’t want to do. Often this is accomplished through the use of psychic powers, but the Dominator may use good old fashioned blackmail or hostages.

    Yes! Then there’s the Mastermind.

    The Mastermind is served by a legion of Faceless Minions and a few Servitors or Monstrosities. He is not personally powerful enough to be a Conqueror, but he aspires higher than the Crime Boss.

    Nailed him! How about a Cosmic Menace?

    The Cosmic Menace lives in deep space and seldom visits the Earth. Heroes become involved with him when they accidentally upset the cosmic applecart, or when the Cosmic Menace’s daily routine threatens the tiny and inconsequential life forms of Earth.

    Well, it’s a bit of a stretch, but watch MSNBC long enough . . . .

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