Grover Norquist's Eerie Influence, Continued

| Wed Nov. 9, 2011 3:28 PM EST

Grover Norquist explains to Politico how he keeps everyone in the Republican Party toeing the anti-tax line:

Sometimes, he said, he has to yank a wandering leader back into line, as he said he did with Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) in May. Kyl publicly ruled out raising tax rates to bring in revenue, which was interpreted by some observers as leaving the door open to a variety of tax increases that wouldn’t involve rate changes.

“So, I call Kyl. ‘What did you say? What did you mean? How can we work together on this?’” Norquist said, adopting the tone of a teacher scolding a second grader as he recalled the conversation. “Yes, I said rates,” Kyl said, as Norquist recalled.

“And then,” Norquist said, “he went down on the floor, and he gave a colloquy about how we’re against any tax increases of any sort. Boom!”

Is Norquist exaggerating to make himself look good? Maybe. But this is a two-edged sword. In public, Norquist usually likes to pretend that he plays a modest personal role, and that's served him well. This kind of boasting probably doesn't. Even a bunch of anti-tax Republicans might start to rebel if they start hearing stuff like this from him a little too often.

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