Try a little togetherness
Speaking of how and to what extent progressives should band together (a key theme in our ongoing “Is environmentalism dead” discussion), anti-tax zealot and right-wing power broker Grover Norquist provides yet another example of how the right is kicking the left’s ass on the unity thing. A New York Times Magazine article on Bush’s plans to trash the tax code starts off like this:
One afternoon late last month, I paid a visit to the offices of Americans for Tax Reform, the conservative lobbying outfit headed by Grover Norquist. … Each Wednesday morning, more than a hundred leading conservative activists, policy pundits, talk-show producers and journalists, joined by assorted Hill staff members and White House aides, gather in Americans for Tax Reform’s conference room to discuss the issues of the day, from prescription drugs to school choice. Within Republican circles, Norquist’s job is to organize other organizations, making sure the different branches of conservatism are moving in the same direction, at the same time, to the greatest extent possible. His particular genius is for persuading one organization to reach beyond its own agenda to help out another — for getting, say, the cultural traditionalists at the Eagle Forum to join the business libertarians at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in opposing fuel-economy standards for automobiles by convincing the traditionalists that, as Norquist once explained to me, “it’s backdoor family planning. You can’t have nine kids in the little teeny cars. And what are you going to do when you go on a family vacation?”
John Podesta is quoted in the article moaning about how the right’s tax plans will screw the little guy. Righto, but tell me: Who meets at his Center for American Progress every Wednesday morning to hatch and hone a cohesive battle plan for the left? When will we see a progressive answer to Norquist’s war room?