Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Grover Norquist has a label for Barack Obama

John McCain has been trying hard of late to link Barack Obama with Jimmy Carter in the public consciousness, hoping that the "ineffectual" label that many voters affix to the former president will prove transferable.

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist touts Goc. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota as prime vice presidential prospects for presumptive Republican presdiential nominee John McCainBut Grover Norquist -- the conservative activist who specializes in promoting an anti-tax agenda and, more generally, revels in the role of agent provocateur -- is offering a different comparison.

Norquist dropped by The Times' Washington bureau today and, as part of his negative critique of Obama's liberal stances on economic issues and other matters, he termed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee "John Kerry with a tan."

Since Norquist isn't running for anything, he can get away with such remarks; we doubt McCain will be incorporating the line into his speeches anytime soon.

Norquist's clout on the right is such, however, that McCain and his aides will pay attention to his thoughts on who would fit well in the second spot on the GOP's presidential ticket. And in his chat with Times' reporters and editors, he was especially high on Bobby Jindal, the recently elected governor of Louisiana.

Norquist touted Jindal's success in pushing through tax-cut and ethics reform legislation during his short tenure as Louisiana's chief executive (no mention was made of the flap surrounding the governor for failing, so far, to live up to a promise to block a pay raise for state legislators).

Nominating Jindal for vice president also would generate a mother lode of contributions for Republicans from Americans of East Indian descent, Norquist predicted.

Another recipient of kind words as a veep prospect was Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota; Norquist praised his record on taxes save for one "mistake" -- approving a hike in state cigarette taxes in years past.

Norquist's most recent book is entitled "Leave Us Alone," which makes the case that Republicans can put together a post-Ronald Reagan governing coalition by appealing to voters who want government to stay out of their affairs.

Along those lines, he predicted that one reason conservative radio talk show hosts will rally behind McCain -- who many of them have been cool toward -- is that some Democratic leaders are advocating a return of the "fairness doctrine." That's the abandoned federal rule that required broadcasters to give equal time to opposing political viewpoints.

[UPDATE: John Kartch, Norquist's director of communications, e-mailed Friday with "two concerns" about the post. "One, it suggests that Grover was singling out Kerry.  The entire statement was that Obama had no policy differences with Carter in 1980, [Walter] Mondale, [Michael] Dukakis, [Al] Gore or Kerry.  'Kerry with a tan,' was simply Kerry was the latest of the string. Two, to be fair to Kerry, Grover pointed out that even Kerry's reputation as a snob never went as far as Obama's contemptuous comment on middle America "clinging" to its guns and faith.]

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (145)

The comments to this entry are closed.

McCain will have to make the pick, its nice to know who Grover likes, But in the end it is McCain choice.

VJ Machiavelli
ps maybe McCain should pick Grover for VP, now that would be a wild ticket.

So what is McCain? Bush with powdered make-up? Sorry, doesn't make McCain any more attractive.

I remember reading about Grover Norquist having some Strong Muslim Terrorist Connections. If so, why is this Grover Norquist being treated as if he were some sort of secular prophet? He never seems to have anything positive or useful to say. I thought he had been retired from politics; so, why is he being exhumed? Who cares what he thinks or says? Grover Norquist seems to have been the proponant of the worst of George W. Bush's Policies, including the Iraq War to find the Never Found Weapons of Mass Destruction, etc., and especially finding new ways to spend and waste funds borrowed from your Social Security Trust Fund, with only Congress Non-Negotiable I.O.U.'s. George Bush and Grover Norsquist wanted to do away with Social Security; they failed, so then they took the Heritage Foundations advice to find creative ways to borrow and waste as much of Social Security Trust Funds as Possible, instead of enlarging the US Army and Marines, hiring Contractors at $1200 per day, when A single Army Sargent makes $85 dollars a day. The Heritage Foundation reccommended hiring contractors even when loyal, honorable, efficient, government employees can do a project, much cheaper, and much better! George Bush and Grover Norquist, if they cannot legally destroy Social Security Trust Funds, decided to borrow and waste so much, the Social Security Trust Fund will never be repaid. Now Bush-Norquist stooges have introduced the word "entitlements," to describe Social Security's spending of its own moneys, when the correct word is "repayments." What are the Bush-Norquist Legitamate Objections, if any, to Repaying Social Security Trust funds once and for all, with all moneys owed, using US owned precious metals and bullion, and long term negotiatable US Bonds, US negotiatable T-Bills, and US owned Lands? It is time to establish a President of Social Security, with its own Treasury, and a President of Industrial Security, with its own Treasurys, and restrict the Old Presidency to National Secutity, and let appontments to the Justice Department, the Courts, the Internal Revenue Service, and Homeland Security, be jointly appointed. No More reckless, psuedo-cowboy, irresponsibililty. Expand the Military, and fire the over paid, wasteful, contractors, who operate beyond all laws and decency. These people repeatedly rape their female employees, and Aptly named Vice, Vice President Richard Cheney, while still with Haliburton, just before taking office, planning for the Iraq War, introduced a practice of making female employees sign contracts which prohibit them for sueing their companies for anything, permiting Rape, or complaining to the US Government and having their Rapists prosecuted in any US Civilian or Military Courts. The Bush administration is flying into Iraq, C-130 planes loaded with shrink-wrapped packages of 100 dollar bills, which are then, handed out like party favors. These are moneys borrowed with non-negotiable paper I.O.U.'s from your Social Secuty Trust Funds. There will probably in a few years, be only minable funds for very low Social Securiity Payments when you retire. Bush should have canceled his tax cuts to pay for his War. Bush's Uncles have lucrative contracts with the Emir of Kuwait, and the Emir feared Saddam, David Rockefeller had lucrative contracts with the King of Saudi Arabia, and the King feared Saddam, so to assuage their fears, and help the Bush Uncles and David Rockefeller keep their contracts, the US gave Welfare to those Super Welfare Queens, the Bush Uncles and David Rockefeller, by Invading Irag, ruled by a Saddam, who was no threat to the US, who as a Left Wing Socialist, had no associations with or connection to, any Religious Groups, and especially not to Osama Bin Ladin's Right Wing Muslim Religious Fanatic's Terrorism, known as Al Queda! The US's President George H. W. Bush, the Saudi King, and the Emir of Kuwait, All Advised Saddam to go to war with Iran, so he did. The Emir of Kuwait promised Saddam 50 Billion dollars,, if he invaded Iran; so Saddam only invaded Kuwait to get his promised paycheck for his war against Iran, for services rendered. And also, the Emir of Kuwait and the Bush Uncles and Brothers were drilling many miles sideways, into Sadam's Iraq Oil Fields, and stealing oil. George H. W, Bush started the First Gulf War, to protect his brothers from prosecution for Oil Theivery.

It's funny how Mia claims that Grover has been "exhumed" when she appears to have exhumed McCarthyism...wild accusations on often unsupportable evidence.

"Since Norquist isn't running for anything, he can get away with such remarks...."

Uh, NO he can't, Don Frederick! Unless our spineless, clueless press LETS him get away with it!!!!

Never mind, it's the AP. You people just don't get it. What office was Jeremiah Wright running for? Or Valerie Plame? Joe Wilson? Or heck, remember the Dixie Chicks?

IOKIYAR. A conservative says something outrageous and no one even pays attention. Thanks for showins us how you folks at AP operate.

I support Bob Barr ( and sound economic policy and as such I am no fan of Obama or McCain for obvious reasons. If Grover thinks Obama is John Kerry with a tan (policywise), then would Indian American Governor Jindal be just another white person with a tan (policywise)? Is he trying to appeal to hicks or what? Grover should join Oscar the Grouch in the garbage can. Somebody find the lid.

In deeply Democratic MN, Pawlenty has saved the taxpayer numerous times. In his first term he closed a $4.5Billion deficit without raising taxes. He set a new state record with the number of vetoes this past session - protecting the taxpayer in what is already one of the heaviest taxed states. As a Minnesotan, my only fear if he does get the VP slot is that it would then be open season on taxpayers by the Demo's once again.

Conservatives...The gift that keeps on giving!

Obama 2008

Norquist is like most all conservatives....they can't remark about Obama without some reference to the color of his skin...they just can't help themselves. My dad couldn't tell a story about a "man" without telling everyone the man was "black, white, Chinese, Jewish, etc. and would repeat the description throughout the story. What a tremendous window into the heart, soul, and brain to single out a trait with self-superiority attached.

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you
win." - Gandhi

Obama 2008!

Grover is a snake..He has ties with another famous Republican scumbag Tom Delay, the K street lobbying thing...He should definitely crawl back under the rock he from...He's a first class butt-boy with no real knowledge of anything worth talking about...

And this loser has any crediblity because...????

And this guys "opinion" matters??? WHY ?

And why does msm give these guys air and print time?

They do nothing to improve any American's lives.

It is amazing that people like Norquist, Bill Clinton (in South Carolina), and Ralph Nadar can't seem to get past Obama's race. What's their problem? They need to grow up and get with the program.

But to Norquist's point, I think that Obama is a much better candidate than John Kerry was and that he's connected with a much broader array of Americans. McCain, in contrast, seems to be having a difficult time connecting.

Besides, the country is in much worse shape now than it was in 2004--thanks to the policies of George W. Bush and the Republicans in Washington D.C.

hey Grover you bitter little self absorbed cheapskate one's listening to you

I wonder how many Americans who voted for George W. Bush in 2004 now wish John Kerry had been president these past three years.


That is all the liberal posters do on this board is hype.

Hey tbone, name one high profile conservative that mentioned Obama's skin color. You can't because none have. Obama doesn't mind mentioning when it helps him out but conservatives do not stoop to that. Remember, one high ranking democrat was once a member of the KKK.

Hey Southern Beale, does your brain work? There is not comparison between Norquist and Wright. Nobody in the republican party attends the Church of Norquist for 20 years. Try and thing logically and connect the dots. I know it is hard for liberals to use commonsense but it might help some of you out if you tried.

Funny how you guys get nutty when the media isn't talking up your candidate.

John Kerry with a tan. I take that its better than McBush.

Is that all you neo-cons got.

So Don, did you follow up by asking Norquist if he was a racist? Because otherwise, you're just an enabler.

Please use that. What superficial nonsence. Norquist is an idiot. That kind of garbage appeals to the folks that won't be voting for Barrack to begin with.
Independants will not like it. To refer to a persons skin color that they were born with as a tan is just dumb.

Norquist: Caligula without the charisma and self-control.

Why hasn't Norquist been frog-marched for laundering money for Abramhoff?

Mr Norquist, just go ahead and call Sen. obama an uppity n****o. We know that is what you mean.

I love to see confirmation that the LA Times writers AND readers are rabid lefties by reading this stuff and reading the comments.

WHERE is the vetting of John McCain????? He has been given a pass for months now. If your going to microscopically review Obama' s past WHY won't you do the same of McCain. Surely someone can review his actions in the senate since he has been in it since before electricity.

I'll bet Mr. Norquist is the first one on the block to complain when there is a pothole. I bet he whines about how bad our roads are, how bad our schools are and, how bad crime is. I bet he wonders why our food safety has such a bad record and why his flights are delayed half the time. On the other hand I would bet he's all for this trillion dollar war(so far.) He probably thinks that big business needs more tax breaks so they can take their profits out of our country. I would bet he doesn't think there needs to be a minimum wage more than 2.00 an hour. Grover wants it all and wants somebody else to pay for it. We pay less taxes than any G-8 nation and it's really starting to show. We are becoming a third world nation and we are too busy with our Starbucks, American Idol and driving our SUV's to notice.

Norq: Alfred E. Newman with a beard.

Grover Norquist is a horse's behind.


Are you really worried about the pastor at Obama's church? I don't think so; I think it's all an act and doubt it will work.

"does your brain work?" <-- Did you come up with that during recess?

why isn't Grover Norquist in jail with Jack Abramov?

stick Delay in there too

**Is that description like saying "Grover Norquist is Jack Abramoff with a beard?"

In an effort to create a narrative about Obama the right keeps creating a narrative about themselves as arrogant narrow-minded racists who haven't noticed they have failed at virtually everything they have tried. A fitting tribute would be to place Bush on the penny, and then immediately stop making them.

I like the comment by John Aravosis of Americablog, in repsonse to Norquists's comment that Obama was "Kerry with a tan".

Aravosis: Norquist is "Liberace with a wife".


Important because Norquists policies have done so well for 8 years, we should keep riding this wave of enlightenment...

Wow, "John Kerry with a tan." That's really freakin' offensive. I guess all the GOP has left is "He's a liberal! And he's BLACK!"

With Iraq dragging on, gas approaching $5 a gallon and the government spying on our e-mails, good luck with that.

Oh! I thought it was Barack's skin pigmentation. I had no idea it was a tan!!

We made the mistake of not electing Kerry in 04, I think we'll get it right this matter how tanned someone is !!!

Hey WillyTee,
While you bash the liberals for lacking logic, your party has us bogged down in an illegal war that has increased our national debt, crippled our economy, broken our military and killed thousands of US soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis (none of which had a single thing to do with 9/11... I dare you to suggest otherwise.)

So please spare us the same old name-calling and grandstanding you conservatives are so fond of... us moderates aren't buying it anymore and we know its all you got. You had your chance and your party failed, so you better get used to the idea of the "libruls" and the Democrats running the show for awhile, because McSame is going down just like all the planes he crashed.


How low will they go? Mentioning a person's color in this context is blatantly racist. Yet that is how the RNC/GOP claimed the south with Gingrich. Note rove's recent comment about Obama.


If low taxes were all it took, Mississippi would be America's engine of prosperity.

I think Norquist is Bush with a paunch. Keep pushing Jindal--today he signed teaching creationism into law in Lousiana.

Team GOP--really really crazy.

Hey WillyTee, I'll name one high profile conservative who has referenced Obama's skin color. Grover Norquist. He's huge, in case you didn't know. He's like the head of the conservative "brain" trust. He hosts regular breakfasts that are pretty much mandatory for the conservative movement to attend (sorry, can't recall if they are daily or weekly) so they can get into lockstep on his agenda.

Mr. Norguist....

Your impending irrelevancy will suit you nicely....

Norquist is Craig with a shorter stance.

Norquist is a joker. If he thinks the NASCAR dads will sign on for Bobby Jindal as veep, he is truly delusional.

If they think Obama is Muslim, how are they going to treat someone like Jindal who actually looks South Asian?

Why did I waste my time reading this garbage ?

Obama=Kerry with a tan: Grover Norquist
Grover Norquist= A Turd with Legs: JAG

Thanks to Grover Norquist and Karl Rove...we're looking at a HUGE victory in November! Remember the "permanent republicant" majority? These guys are joke! They're poison!

Thanks for your input Mr. Norquist but if you think the GOP conservative base is ready for a Bobby Jindal I've got a bridge in Manhatten that I'd like to sell you.

Grover Norquist - Karl Rove with hair and a beard.

1 2 3 | ยป


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: