Saturday, July 08, 2006

Norquist v. McCain

The truth about a situation cannot always be found by splitting the difference between the competing claims of opponents, but sometimes it can be. Regarding Grover Norquist's current complaints that John McCain is acting vengefully due to their differences during the 2000 presidential primary, that is likely the case.

Norquist, who has been a friend of corrupt Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff since their days together as leaders of the College Republicans, says that McCain misleadingly included mention of Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee report on the Abramoff scandal solely for the purpose of getting even with him for his opposition to McCain in 2000. A McCain spokesman, protesting a bit too much, responds, "McCain does what he thinks is right. He's not going to shift his position for Grover or anyone else."

Norquist's difficulty is that his tax reform goals are not consistent with his alleged, and well documented, relationship with Abramoff. While it is likely an exaggeration to claim that McCain included mention of Norquist with revenge in mind, it is not hard to believe that he at least enjoyed the opportunity to do so. The notion that McCain would never "shift his position" out of personal animus is silly to anyone who knows the Senator or his reputation.

Which is not to say that Norquist doesn't have a reason himself for protesting too much.


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