If Republicans follow the lead of the no-tax firebrand Grover Norquist, they are headed for an extended period as the "out" party.
Norquist is president of the Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington-based operation. That name really means an organization that is dedicated to attack any lawmaker who votes for or advocates a tax increase no matter the need.
In the week Barack Obama becomes the nation's 44th president, Norquist may seem a trivial subject for examination. But read on for a political connection.
This no-tax bully is already listing his favorite conservatives to lead the party back to success in 2012.
In an interview with National Journal magazine, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana was mentioned first by Norquist. The young son of Indian immigrants, Jindal has an interesting résumé, but will the old timers in the party look to him?
Next, Norquist comes up with the incredible name of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is about as unpopular at home as George W. Bush is in the nation. Polls in the Lone Star State show that Perry would be a big loser to GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison next year if they face off in a primary. Hutchison is popular at home and may beat Perry as a primary opponent.
Norquist then tosses in a mention of Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. However, they seem to be an afterthought.
In the interview, Norquist even trashes fellow Republican George Bush for not working hard enough to make tax cuts permanent. He claims Bush was too busy being "Mayor of Baghdad." Guess he figures tax cuts for the wealthy were more important than the war in Iraq.
For many years, Norquist has had a place at the table in top-level meetings of GOP strategists, including Karl Rove. Wonder what Rove thinks about Norquist after he waits until Bush leaves office to rip him on tax cuts and other issues such as the bailout response to the stock market downward spiral?
As for President Obama, Norquist dismisses his tax-cut plan for the middle class as a subsidy "coming out of the left wing, Democratic political operation out of Chicago." Some Republicans will assuredly embrace that sort of political hardball. It is vintage Norquist.
Perhaps Norquist should offer himself as a candidate for president because he is such an expert on taxes, the economy, and certainly other issues as well.
Democrats can only hope Republicans will listen to Norquist for the party's rebirth in four years. It is a sure loser.