Republicans urged to call Democrats’ bluff

by Seth McLaughlin-The Washington Times  |  published on December 3, 2012

Grover Norquist says Republicans will emerge victorious from the “fiscal cliff” fight if they put television cameras in the negotiating room and smoke out Democrats over their reluctance to cut entitlement programs — the biggest drivers of federal spending and the national debt.

In a meeting with editors and reporters of The Washington Times, Mr. Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform and father of the group’s influential “no new taxes” pledges, said Republicans are at a tipping point after 20 years of building their anti-tax brand, and the most disastrous thing lawmakers in the GOP could do is put their “fingerprints” on a tax increase. It would be better for the party, he said, to get no deal than to sign on to tax hikes.

The influential conservative said that in order for Republicans to come out on top in their showdown with President Obama, every fiscal cliff meeting from here on out should be public.

That, he said, would stop the White House from “lying” to the public about how the president wants to handle the “cliff” — the expiration of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts and the $110 billion in automatic cuts to domestic and defense spending scheduled to kick in early next year, thanks to the bipartisan deal lawmakers carved out last summer to raise the nation’s borrowing limit.

“Everything has to be in front of cameras,” Mr. Norquist said, adding that it would be “much more difficult” for Republicans to come out on top if they continue to meet behind closed doors, because Democrats are saying one thing privately and another thing publicly. “They have been lying about their willingness to reform entitlements.”

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