Well, a lot of people are running America these days, but the more pertinent question is, how many of them did we actually elect to do so? Nobody voted to allow Grover Norquist’s lobby, Americans for Tax Reform, to exert legislative influence over the US, but they seem to feel entitled to do so anyway.
That’s certainly the impression I got from ATR’s response to the competing proposals being floated to resolve the debt ceiling stalemate. Incidentally, Norquist isn’t in favor of any of them because they all “dramatically increase taxes on the American people,” by which he means they let the Bush tax cuts expire. But he lets a telling statement slip in his statement:
It is a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to trade temporary tax reductions for permanent tax hikes.
What is this Taxpayer Protection Pledge he speaks of? It’s a pledge drafted by Americans for Tax Reform itself that has been signed by 95% of Republicans currently in Congress. It is an oath that the signing legislator agrees to never, ever raise taxes for any reason.
And Norquist casually asserts that these legislators should put their allegiance to the pledge first, ahead of any actual, democratically enacted laws, ahead of the Constitution, and ahead of the actual good of the American people. What right does Norquist have to warn against “violations” of his extra-democratic pledge? Who gave him the power to enforce such an oath and restrict the voting behavior of members of the US Congress? He did, essentially, with the willing complicity of a bunch of Republicans.
So, who’s running America these days? Not the voters, democracy be damned.