During his presentation, Norquist explained why he believed that there would be a permanent Republican majority in America.
One person interrupted, as I recall, and said, “C’mon, Grover, surely one day a Democrat will win the White House.”
Norquist immediately replied: “We will make it so that a Democrat cannot govern as a Democrat.”
The specifics of how they're implementing that strategy now that we have a Democratic president are clear...they've become the "party of no." As an example, take a look at this history of the use of filibusters.
As Steve Benen points out:
Consider this tidbit: cloture was invoked 63 times in 2009 and 2010, which isn’t just the most ever, it’s more than the sum total of instances from 1919 through 1982. That’s not a typo.
In other words, Republicans did what they could to make governing impossible in 2009-2010. Now, with a Republican House combined with the use of the filibuster, we're at a total standstill.
As Transportation Secretary Lahood said last week about his fellow Republicans:
“A big percentage of the Republicans that were elected this time came here to do zero, and that’s what they’ve done,” he said. Those lawmakers, he said, have obstructed other people who are trying to get things done.
Even former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is sounding alarms.
"I do believe that we are now in uncharted waters when it comes to the dysfunction in our political system--and it is no longer a joking matter," former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told an audience two weeks ago at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where he received the Liberty Medal for national service. "It appears that as a result of several long-building, polarizing trends in American politics and culture, we have lost the ability to execute even the basic functions of government much less solve the most difficult and divisive problems facing the country. Thus, I am more concerned than I have ever been about the state of American governance."
This is nothing new to those of us who have been paying attention. But as retired Republican Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren noted a few weeks ago, the Republicans are counting on low-information voters not noticing.
A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress's generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.
A deeply cynical tactic, to be sure, but a psychologically insightful one that plays on the weaknesses both of the voting public and the news media. There are tens of millions of low-information voters who hardly know which party controls which branch of government, let alone which party is pursuing a particular legislative tactic. These voters' confusion over who did what allows them to form the conclusion that "they are all crooks," and that "government is no good," further leading them to think, "a plague on both your houses" and "the parties are like two kids in a school yard."
Ignorance on the part of the public is the card the Republicans are playing. THAT'S the message we need to get out there when it comes to tackling the dominance of the 1%.