Grover Norquist spoke in St Petersburg during Republican convention

09/04/12 Samuel Johnson
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Last Wednesday at the USF St. Petersburg campus, the conservative lobbyist and author of the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” Grover Norquist delivered a 40 minute speech about the current American political process. The low turn out of roughly 50 people received a lesson in the ideology of the Republican Party from arguably one of the most powerful men in Washington.

Norquist’s advocacy group, Americans for Tax Reform, is best known for the taxpayer protection pledge which has been signed by a majority of Republicans nationwide. Those who sign the pledge promise never to increase taxes. However, Norquist commended his advocacy group lobbies for limited government on a diverse platform of issues.

"So we’ve helped to create structures that focus on those things where as ATR focuses on taxes and overall size of government. But deregulating, not regulating the internet, telecommunications is its own sort of key project line."

Norquist did comment on taxes. He highlighted the libertarian, “leave me alone coalition within the Republican Party. Norquist pointed to a population shift away from states with high taxes as proof that the tax pledge resonates with voters. Norquist says if the Republican Party wins both the presidency and a majority in congress it will downscale the federal government and save money.

"If the republicans get control of everything they’re going to do the Ryan plan which is for welfare. It takes what Clinton did on welfare and expands it not just to aid families with dependent children but to food stamps and Medicaid and other needs tested programs, there’s 200 in the federal government and block grants them to the states and fixes them with an inflation adjustment and then states can run them themselves. That saved both a lot of money for the federal and state governments to aid families with dependent children. A lot of people got off dependency and it was the singular success of the Clinton administration."

Norquist also spoke on American foreign policy. He said if foreign policy doesn’t affect the domestic interests of the core Republican voters then the president is given complete leeway. Mohamed Mostafa, an Egyptian journalist invited to attend both national conventions at the behest of the State Department, was denied access to the RNC. He said Egyptians are worried the Republican Party will ignore foreign policy. Mostafa said that worry is now a reality.

"We have the impression that Mitt Romney is weaker than Obama in foreign policy but we have to get evidence. You invited us to attend such convention. The program name is political policy convention and we came. We have just come from Iowa. We were just in Washington, Iowa and then here to attend. After we came they said oh we couldn’t arrange such attending to the conference. But when we called we saw that it would be done again to us when we go to Charlotte with the Democrats. But our colleagues called them and they confirmed everything will be all right and we can attend."

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