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Quickly. What do these 27 Louisianans have in common, other than having been elected to political office?

  • Paul Hollis
  • John Alario
  • Jack Donahue
  • Gerald Long
  • Fred Mills
  • Barrow Peacock
  • John Smith
  • Steve Carter
  • Greg Cromer
  • Cameron Henry
  • Dorothy Hill
  • Valarie Hodges
  • Sam Jones
  • Dee Richard
  • Alan Seabaugh
  • Scott Simon
  • John Schroder
  • Kirk Talbot
  • Conrad Appel
  • Barry Milligan
  • Jeff Landry
  • John Kennedy
  • Bill Cassidy
  • Clay Higgins
  • Steve Scalise
  • Ralph Abraham
  • Mike Johnson

Give up?

Well, to make it more interesting, I’ll throw in these names:

  • Jeff Sessions
  • Tommy Tuberville
  • Tom Cotton
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Devin Nunes
  • Kevin McCarthy
  • Marco Rubio
  • Matt Gaetz
  • Ron Desantis
  • Rick Scott
  • Doug Collins
  • David Perdue
  • Brian Kemp
  • Mitch McConnell
  • Rand Paul
  • Cindy Hyde-Smith
  • Michael Guest
  • Tate Reeves
  • Roy Blunt
  • Ben Sasse
  • Christopher Sununu
  • Chris Christie
  • Chris Collins
  • Jim Jordan
  • Rick Santorum
  • Pat Toomey
  • Lindsey Graham
  • Tim Scott
  • Kristi Noem
  • Lamar Alexander
  • John Cornyn
  • Ted Cruz
  • Mitt Romney
  • Liz Cheney

Each of the aforementioned is among the 172 members of the U.S. House of Representative, 48 U.S. senators 12 governors and 27 Louisianans who signed Grover Norquist’s no-new-tax pledge, which reads simply enough:

I, ______, pledge to the taxpayers of the ______ district of the state of ______ and to the American people that I will: One, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and Two, to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates

Of the 20 Louisiana legislators who signed the pledge, seven are still in office. They are Hollis, Mills, Peacock, Henry, Hodges, Seabaugh and Schroder. Schroder is no longer in the legislature, having moved up to State Treasurer.

Landry, a former member of the U.S. House, is now Louisiana’s attorney general with an eye on the governor’s office just up the street. Kennedy and Cassidy, of course are Louisiana’s two U.S. senators while Higgins, Scalise, Abraham and Johnson are in the House. Abraham, an unsuccessful candidate for governor last year, is a lame duck and will exit Congress next Jan. 20.

Norquist, who founded the organization Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) wears his capitalist idealism on his sleeve. He’s been widely quoted saying thing like:

“Our goal is to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub.”

He advocates standing on one’s own two feet:

“We want to reduce the number of people depending on government so there is more autonomy and more free citizens.”

Norquist feels that such reliance on government weakens one’s character:

“The welfare state creates its own victim/client constituency. By making individuals free and independent, we reduce the need for ‘charity’ to those truly needy citizens what we can certainly afford to help through real charity.”

Moreover, he is convinced that government spending, fueled by entitlements, is harmful to the U.S. economy:

“What’s hurting the U.S. economy is total government spending. The deficit is an indicator that the government is spending so much money that it can’t even get around to stealing all of the money that it wants to spend.”

The COVID-19 pandemic shutdown unquestionably crippled the US—the world—economy, necessitating Congress to pass a $350 billion paycheck protection bill to bail out companies with forgivable SBA loans of up to $10 million which, of course, caused Norquist to pitch a hissy fit even before another $330 billion was added to the relief package. He wrote a letter urging lawmakers not to approve a second stimulus bill, saying:

“Government spending is inhibiting the fast recovery we want in jobs and incomes, not stimulating it.”

But what Norquist neglected to point out is his Americans for Tax Reform had just received up to $350,000 in stimulus money from the first bill. In other words, he got his and now he doesn’t want anyone else to get theirs because it’s wasteful government spending, it kills incentive, creating victimhood.

Oops. Maybe all those members of congress, legislators, and governors listed above might like to reconsider signing off on Norquist’s “Don’t do as I do, do as I say do” pledge..

Perhaps Norquist should “funnel” that guvmint money to the CHOCTAW INDIANS of Mississippi, the tribe he helped Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, Ralph Reed and JACK ABRAMOFF funnel more than $1 million away from the Choctaw back in 1999.

Of course, when it came time to put up or shut up, Norquist chose to shut up by REFUSING TO TESTIFY before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee’s hearing on lobbying abuses.

But perhaps the best illustration with the fewest words to describe Norquist’s role in the sordid affairs with Abramoff, DeLay, Reed, and Rove can be seen HERE. If all this doesn’t leave you needing a shower, I just don’t know what could.

Unless it’s this:

Others that received PPP funding included the Ayn Rand Institute (between $350,000 and $1 million), Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller ($350,000 to $1 million), Newsmax, the conservative TV network owned by Trump ally Christopher Ruddy ($2 million to $5 million), and (wait for it), the shipping business owned by Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao’s family ($350 to $1 million). Chao just happens to be the wife of (ahem) Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. They’re all right HERE.

(Ayn Rand, for those who may not know, was a Russian émigré who fled the communist revolution, became an actress in the US and who wrote The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Atlas Shrugged has become something of a capitalism bible to her followers.)

To borrow from Charles Dickens, we seem to have the ghosts of capitalism past and the ghosts of capitalism present in one tidy little story. I can’t wait for the ghost of capitalism future to make its appearance.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t include one last Norquist quote because it’s really a gem:

“Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.”

 

“Trump questioned the patriotism of Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs in Iraq, and Fox’s Tucker Carlson called her a ‘coward’ and a ‘fraud.’ Even if you are a Trump supporter, does this not cross a line for all Americans?”

—Question on Quora, after attacks on Duckworth following her suggestion that statues of slaveowners be taken down, including those of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. [Yes, Washington and Jefferson founded this great nation and Jefferson wrote “All men are created equal” even as he owned some 400 slaves and fathered children by one of them. So, if you’re one of those who ever said “I know how blacks feel, but…” then you’re a hypocritical liar. How dare you say you know how someone whose ancestors were forced into slavery feels! At the same time, how dare President Bunker-Boy Bone Spurs call anyone, ANYONE, a “coward” and a “fraud.”]

 

“Keep in mind, Tammy Duckworth is not a child, at least not technically. She is a sitting United States senator who is often described as a hero. Yet Duckworth is too afraid to defend her own statements on a cable TV show. What a coward.”

—Faux News bigot Tucker Carlson. [See my comments above.]

 

 

“Build a fallout shelter. You’ll need it. Weakness invites the wolves.” 

“The vice president says he will transform America. He will and the American people will pay a fearsome price.”

“If you want 52 weeks of vacation a year, vote for [Biden] because he’s going to bankrupt your employer. Here is what he says to our young people: finish school, get a job, and work hard so I, Vice President Biden, can give it to someone who didn’t. Finally, I think he will eviscerate our health care delivery system.”

–Donald Trump shill Louisiana Sen. John “Mealy” Kennedy, on Fox News’s Sean Hannity Show, July 7, 2020, in claiming that Joe Biden’s domestic policy calls for Americans to surrender their money and freedom to Washington. [We’ve been wondering where Kennedy was lately because he’s been do uncharacteristically silent as Trump lies, encourages racism, dismantles our intelligence agencies, destroys the environment, pisses off our allies, snuggles up to world tyrants, and enriches his family and friends—all while displaying utter incompetence in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.]

 

“…an addled Russian asset.”

—Description of John Kennedy by conservative commentator Charlie Sykes, following a confusing Kennedy interview over fired Ukraine ambassador Fiona Hill’s House testimony during the impeachment hearings.

 

“I’ve said all I want to say on that, guys, there’s nothing else I can add.”

–John Kennedy, Dec. 2019. [Oh, John, if that were only true…]

 

 

 

“If they have some sort of influence over how the money gets awarded, or how much money gets awarded, they should not be the recipients of those funds. If they are the recipients of their own cash that they’re handing out, it really raises questions of self-dealing.”

—Craig Holman, an advocate from the watchdog group Public Citizen, on the awarding of $16.6 million in coronavirus relief funds to 22 companies at 40 Wall Street, an office building in Lower Manhattan owned by Donald Trump. [Trump’s attorney during the Mueller investigation was the recipient of some of that money].

 

“The Secretary has no connection to the business and she had no idea a loan was obtained.”

—Statement from the Department of Transportation after it was revealed that Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s family’s shipping company, Foremost Maritime, received between $350,000 and $1 million in stimulus money. [Go figure: Chao is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky). Is there a single, living, breathing soul reading this who believes Chao “had no idea a loan was obtained”?]

 

 

 

“Ignorance is inexcusable; it’s the surest way to fail. No acceptable reason for not being well-informed.”

—Donald Trump tweet, April 26, 2013.

 

“…[I]gnorance is not bliss. It’s fatal. It’s costly. And it’s for losers. You either get organized or get crushed.”

—Donald Trump tweet, Jan. 27, 2014.

 

“After I had won, everybody was calling me from all over the world. I never knew we had so many countries.”

—Trump, at a state dinner in Japan, November 2017.

 

“[T]he Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware, and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown. Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory.”

—Donald Trump speech confusing the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the 20th century, July 4, 2019.

 

“Nobody briefed or told me.”

—Donald Trump tweet, June 26, 2020. [Some things are just worth reiterating.]

 

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

—Martin Luther King, Jr., Feb. 6, 1968.

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