Thursday, June 25, 2009

Grover Norquist on fiscal responsibility and conservative leadership

Grover Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform. In this interview with Newsmax's Ron Kessler, he talks about leadership, both inside and outside of Washington.

It's a good interview. He discusses the history of politics in Washington, the roles that the various "players" in the capital are taking, and the true impact of stimulus spending on the country, both theoretical and actual spending. He draws contrasts between states like Texas and Florida, that have no income tax, and states with very high income taxes, like California and New York, pointing to the results of the different tax burdens on each states' economies.

He even touches on the potential trap of "bi-partisan compromise". As Mr. Norquist points out, it's better to not have your fingerprints on 100% bad legislation than to have a hand in passing 80% or even 60% bad legislation. The first step is to say no to bad ideas; the second is to present good ideas.

Once you have good ideas, of course, you need to sell them. In politics, it's called campaigning. You won't convince people by simply repeating over and over and over that you're right and other people are wrong. Mr. Norquist reminds us that the customer is always right. That doesn't mean that leaders have to do whatever their followers want them to do; but if you're going to change minds, then you need to do more to persuade people than simply telling them they're wrong.

Finally, he discusses the Republican Party's chances of taking back power in Washington. As an independent, I don't really care who has power; as long as they don't have enough of it to become "too big to fail". If the Democrats are in charge, then so be it; but I'd be more comfortable with a strong opposition party keeping them from running amok with their newfound authority. Right now, that opposition is the Republicans.

I encourage everyone to watch the full interview here.

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