8/21/2005

The Stakeholder:: Norquist Back in the Spotlight

don't how many folks on this side of the aisle heard about or paid much attention to the eruption between Frank Gaffney and Grover Norquist when in 2003 Gaffney accused Norquist of being part of America's "radical Fifth Column" on the basis of his supposed support for Islamist groups. A little outfit called Powerline sided pretty solidly with Gaffney with posts like "The lies of Grover Norquist":

Norquist's themes are those of the Islamist apologist organizations like CAIR and the American Muslim Council: informed critics of Islamofascism and advocates of American interests like Daniel Pipes and Frank Gaffney are portrayed as bigots, and key law enforcement tools against domestic terrorism are alleged to be nefarious infringments of civil rights. When Norquist attempted to enlist James Woolsey to his cause on the latter score, Gaffney powerfully established that Norquist was all but lying.

Finally, except when attacking Gaffney personally, the tone of Norquist's remarks was insouciant and unserious. Norquist's response to the merits of Gaffney's charges was by turns evasive, deceitful, and flip. In defending himself from Gaffney's chages, Grover Norquist is an advocate with a fool for a client.

It kind of faded away insofar as I can tell, and didn't give the White House much pause in keeping him as perhaps their chief outside ally.

Well, Gaffney's back. Citing a New Yorker article which marvels somewhat at Norquist's power and organization, Gaffney concludes that it can only be part of some leftist conspiracy.

An alternative explanation for the New Yorker's puff piece about Norquist is more sinister. In recent years, the influence he exercises within what he calls center-right circles has proven very valuable to assorted causes embraced by the left – and anathema to the majority of conservatives. In his online interview, author Cassidy also spoke of this agenda: "The Democrats need to do a better job of exploiting the divisions and potential divisions within the Republican coalition."...

And this time Gaffney has a little more ammunition than before...

The New Yorker published troubling excerpts of e-mails involving Norquist, Jack Abramoff (a top Washington lobbyist and conservative political operative who was recently indicted on fraud charges and is reportedly the subject of other congressional and criminal investigations), Christian evangelical activist/GOP strategist Ralph Reed and several Indian tribes. The e-mails suggest that Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform profited by effectively laundering money that Abramoff's gambling-interested Indian clients were induced to pay the anti-gambling Reed in order to improve their competitive position. (Unmentioned in the article is the fact that afterwards, Abramoff reportedly earned still more money undoing Reed's handiwork for the benefit of other Indian tribes.)

He does not, however, mention this (Abramoff's and Saleh Kamel's ties article at TPM). I can only assume his head would have exploded by now if he knew.


The Stakeholder:: Norquist Back in the Spotlight

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