President George H. W. Bush Doesn’t Know Who Grover Norquist Is

At least that’s what’s implied when the former president said “who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?” in an interview by Parade Magazine when talking about the tax pledge a lot of candidates sign when they need to add yet another endorsement to their push card:

Thoughts on the “no new tax” pledge from Grover Norquist.
PARADE: During your presidency you gave in on your “no new taxes” pledge. You’ve been vindicated in many respects for that decision. I wonder how you view the “no new tax” pledge from Grover Norquist that seems to be requisite for GOP political candidates.

GB: The rigidity of those pledges is something I don’t like. The circumstances change and you can’t be wedded to some formula by Grover Norquist. It’s—who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?
BB: I think he ought to go back to Alaska. [laughs] Don’t quote me! [A reference to a comment Mrs. Bush made about Sarah Palin in a 2010 interview, in which she said, “I think she’s very happy in Alaska—and I hope she’ll stay there.”]

So, you have a former Republican president, who will probably be best known for his infamous “no new taxes” line, talking about the rigidity of a tax pledge and how it’s seemingly a bad thing that it’s not more flexible.  What say you?  Are tax pledges (and the other pledges candidates sign) useful and/or influence your vote during a primary or general election?


  1. joe says:

    The presidential nominee has been decided, there is no senatorial race in Georgia this year, and I live in a district that will re-elect David Scott, so this year, i don’t care who signs what pledge.

    Pledges in general are designed to be fairly weak. Instead of a pledge of ‘no new taxes’, how about a pledge to reduce by 5% (this year), the pct of GDP that the federal government consumes? If he had taken a no new taxes pledge, the President could claim that he thought ObamaCare was a fine, not a tax.

  2. bgsmallz says:

    And the reward for punishing H.W. for breaking his pledge was 8 years of Clinton-Gore. Remember, Clinton got a smaller % of the popular vote than Michael Dukakis…but in the end, those folks that want their politicians to make pledges rather than lead are always ready to cut their nose off to spite their face in the name of political purity.

  3. CobbGOPer says:

    Meh. G.H.W. Bush was and is half a liberal anyway. He was raised in New England, not Texas. And as has been noted above, he paid a price for breaking his own tax pledge, among other things.

  4. DTK says:

    I think he’s just pointing out that Norquist was a nobody before becoming the self- appointed tax sheriff in the 90s and hasn’t done anything since except bluster and generally be an a**hole.

    Norquist is a loser who spent time in the 80s traipsing across central America playing Rambo against the Sandinistas. If you don’t know Norquist’s background, look it up. He’s an odd guy.

  5. kdoc says:

    I don’t put any stock in pledges. In order to keep a pledge, they redefine what is or is not a “tax” (and is it a NEW tax, or just an increase in an existing tax, or is it a replacement for another tax, or is it taxing someone different than some other tax…). I think the tax pledge thing is a convenient gimmick for people who don’t want to think.

  6. South GA Bulldog says:

    I would much rather see a candidate stand up to some of these groups than pander to them. These pledges are a joke. Just like Grover. I would much rather have a person think for themselves. All these pledges are nothing but campaign gimmicks and sound bites.

  7. John Konop says:

    George Bush Sr. Demonstrated profiles in courage as president and VP. First in the Reagan administration he ran the foriegn policy that Reagan took must the credit for. Second Bush made the tough calls that helped turn the economy around. Most economist agree Clinton inherited the tough love measures Bush took the hit on. And the economy was heading in the right direction, it was poor timing for Bush. Third he one of our best foreign policy president ever, and if his son had listen to dad……….. Finally like a true patriot he help Clinton even after he lost the election with foriegn policy and help his son after his……..and put the adults back in control ie Gates………

  8. dgh says:

    At this point American(s) for Tax Reform is less a serious public policy entity and more of a cry for help. Best wishes, Grover.

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