Grover Norquist’s grip over GOP loosening?


“For years, Grover Norquist was an unchallenged force, a unilateral king maker,” described Ezra Klein on Friday’s Rachel Maddow Show. Norquist’s tax pledge– a promise to oppose increases in tax rates and reduction of tax credits– has long been considered a litmus test for GOP candidates, signing it a mark of true conservatism.

“60 Minutes” called Norquist “responsible, more than anyone else, for rewriting the dogma of the Republican party.”

Last year, Rep. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, arguably the most conservative Republican in the senate, broke rank. On Meet the Press in April 2011, he said that his pledge to his constituents and the Constitution is more important than “a special interest group who claims to speak for all-American conservatives.”

This week’s Politico story from Kate Nocera describes a small but increasingly vocal group of freshman Republicans who are echoing Coburn’s sentiments.

Coburn, in an interview on msnbc, says that his comments on Norquist are “just some constructive criticism.”

“We want the lowest tax rates we can have and don’t want to raise taxes on anybody… [but] we want to fix the problems in this country and we want to have increased revenues for the government… our problem with the Grover tax pledge is he randomly picks what he decides is a tax increase. I would tell you that eliminating tax credits, gimmicks and loopholes is eliminating spending. It’s not raising taxes.”