The War On Norquist Gets Personal

When the news broke that Grover Norquist had agreed to join the board of GOProud, the conservative gay group, the reaction from the Religious Right was disappointment mixed with an attempt to edify Norquist about supposedly radical nature of the group in order to get him to see the error of his ways.

When that didn’t work, they tried convincing him that his willingness to work with GOProud was going to undermine his “prestige” and effectiveness as social conservatives wondered if they could trust him.

That didn’t work either, so now they have gone into full-attack mode, as Brent Bozell does in his latest commentary:

Comes now the news that fiscal conservative leader Grover Norquist, a man who prides himself on forming grand working coalitions, has joined the board of a group called GOProud, calling the group “an important part of the conservative movement” with a commitment to “core conservative values.”

It’s a gay group. And Norquist thinks social conservatives are going to accept this absolute abandonment?

Traditional marriage and the right of religious people to speak out against homosexuality as a sin are “core conservative values.” Proposition 8 in California – defending the institution of marriage, the only thing the GOP won in 2008 — was victorious because culturally conservative blacks and Hispanics joined the GOP coalition.

Norquist wants to take the GOP in the exact opposite direction now, full speed ahead, the consequences be damned … Norquist has declared open war on social conservatives. Note to Chairman Steele: If he succeeds, and they leave the party, the GOP is ruined.

The FRC’s Tom McClusky is also going after Norquist as well, openly questioning Norquist’s ethics by highlighting, among other things, his ties to Jack Abramoff:

I’ve got to say, many in the conservative movement — especially among social conservatives — saw Grover Norquist’s, the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), move to join the advisory council of the homosexual advocacy group GOProud as “Grover being Grover.” The phrase meaning that he is well known for his questionable affiliations (from being a middle man for convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, profiting from the oppressed Northern Mariana Islands to partnering with Poker Players Alliance to advocate for legislation that ultimately taxes the Internet) and also for his disdain of social conservative issues like life and marriage (once deriding pro-lifers as “pontificators” and on marriage that he doesn’t “focus on it.”) Yet in this case he is actually going beyond his normal “profit and party before principles” motto.

The argument I have heard from Grover’s supporters is that he is willing to work with anyone who fights for lower taxes. However, even here GOProud fails to live up to those standards — unless you define “fighting for lower taxes” to be limited to “fighting for lower taxes for gay families” (as opposed to for everyone). In fact, most of their “conservative” positions are centered and conditional on that the “gay community” gets special carve-outs. They oppose the Death Tax, but according to their own website they oppose it because it “discriminates against gay and lesbian couples for whom there is no marital exemption.” They opposed the health care bill, and again according to their own website, because it “does indeed discriminate against gay families”

Grover of course has every right to associate himself with whomever he wants, but he shouldn’t call himself conservative if he is willing to disregard even ATR principles. By joining GOProud’s board he is not saying “I agree with you 80 percent of the time” but is instead fully embracing their agenda.