Anti-tax cavalry gathers to save Grover Norquist

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Anti-tax allies of Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform under fire for getting Republicans to sign a no new taxes pledge, are saddling up to make sure the conservative Washington influencer isn't pushed over the "fiscal cliff."

Supportive pundits, politicians, columnists and conservative leaders are hastily mounting an effort to stop a spark of protest among just a handful of Republicans willing to abandon the pledge from turning into a wildfire of revolt.

NORQUIST

Leading the charge is Brent Bozell, the conservative head of the Media Research Center and the limited government promoter For America. He is threatening to call out "liars" in the GOP who campaigned on a promise not to raise taxes on small businesses and stay true to the Norquist pledge.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders sent Tuesday, he wrote, "Conservatives have one question to ask: If you now claim a tax increase on small business is the correct course of action, were you lying all along when you claimed this tax increase would decimate the economy? Because if you were not lying, you will now be willing participants in the destruction of American jobs in a time of economic crisis. This is the question you must answer, given the posturing of many Republicans in the immediate aftermath of the election."

He has been joined by the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and even MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough who said, "Grover's not the bad guy. If you hate Grover, then you hate the elected representatives that signed the pledge just so they could have a piece of paper to hold up to represent what they were doing. I never, in seven years in Congress, met somebody going, 'I don't know what to do because Grover might be upset.' No, they go, 'I'm not voting to raise taxes because I'll have my ass primaried, and I'm not coming back here. And I like getting elected.'"

Scarborough, a former GOP lawmaker, added, "Grover is over when Americans think they aren't taxed enough."

While Norquest and ATR are not organizing the conservative defense of the tax pledge, Norquist is taking his campaign to the political class. On Wednesday, he plans to appear on Politico's televised "Playbook Breakfast" show.

For all the fuss about those bucking Norquist, ATR isn't concerned. For the incoming Congress, 219 House members and 39 senators have signed Norquist's pledge.

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