Why is one of the most prominent anti-tax conservatives in the GOP in a feud with Ted Cruz?
Grover Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform and mastermind of the group’s famous pledge to never raise taxes, continued his critique of Cruz, the freshman Texas senator who led the failed effort to defund Obamacare, in an interview Monday on Sirius XM’s Standup with Pete Dominick. Norquist said “I have never had a criticism of Ted Cruz’s strategy because I’ve never been able to find it.”
This continues an ongoing war of words between Norquist and Cruz over the right’s strategy in the effort to delay Obamacare. In an email exchange first reported in The Daily Beast last week, one Norquist aide labeled Cruz and his allies as “defund terrorists.” Norquist previously slammed those who tried to use the government shutdown to roll back the Affordable Care Act by saying, “They hurt the conservative movement, they hurt people’s health care, they hurt the country’s economic situation and they hurt the Republican party.”
While many prominent Republicans found the Cruz strategy impracticable, the most vocal opposition came from those like John McCain who are part of the establishment wing of the party. Norquist has been the most vocal critic from the conservative base of the tactics used to force the shutdown, saying that Cruz and his allies were demanding “silver unicorns.”
The irony of course is that there is very little ideological daylight between Cruz and Norquist. Both are staunch opponents of big government and Obamacare. The divide, at least initially, was over tactics. But, now it seems to be almost philosophical. Norquist, a pragmatic veteran of Washington, seems to be focused on “politics as the art of the possible,” trying to slowly chip away at the administrative state. In contrast, Cruz seems to emulating a python; he’ll swallow Obamacare whole or choke trying.