The Last Word
updated 12/17/2012 7:24:00 PM ET 2012-12-18T00:24:00

Grover Norquist is using the kind of incendiary language that someone would use if they were losing a big fight and trying to stay relevant.

As Grover Norquist watches his “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” abandoned by Republicans who swore never to raise taxes, he’s resorted to using incendiary language to keep himself in the spotlight (if no longer relevant or powerful). Norquist was on C-SPAN on Thursday morning with the Washington Journal, and discussed the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations.

“We got lots of things Obama claims to be for, and we will make–we, the Republicans in the House and Senate–will make him actually make those spending restraints, in order to get the continuing resolution out a week, two weeks, a month. Obama will be on a very short leash, fiscally speaking, over the next four years. He’s not gonna have any fun at all. He may decide to go blow up small countries he can’t pronounce because it won’t be any fun to be here, because he won’t be able to spend the kind of cash he was hoping to.”

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell immediately noticed that “a very short leash” is an uncommon phrase in this kind of situation.

“I don’t want to think that Grover deliberately used that phrase to create the imagery of Barack Obama as a dog or a slave. But Grover specializes in deliberately vicious hate speech. Hate speech against anyone who takes a reasonable approach to financing the federal government, and so I’m sorry to say Grover is not above suspicion on that phrase about the short leash.”

O’Donnell also responded to Norquist’s line about “countries [Obama] can’t pronounce” in his rewrite Thursday night.

“Grover never once criticized George W. Bush–the most inarticulate president in Grover’s lifetime–for being inarticiulate. President Obama may be the only president in Grover’s lifetime–possibly the only president in our history–for whom there are no small countries he can’t pronounce. And if Grover is suddenly moved to joke about blowing up small countries, why did he find nothing funny in his hero Ronald Reagan’s invasion of Grenada? And why did Grover never try to make a joke about George W. Bush blowing up small countries? Because George W. Bush was a tax cutter and so Grover didn’t hate him.”

In his interview, Norquist dismissed the fiscal cliff as “a skirmish,” apparently trying to play down the significance of a fight that he is losing. A significant number of Republicans have renounced the anti-tax activist’s pledge. O’Donnell points out that this is not the first time that Grover Norquist has used malicious language to make a political point.

“He once told the Denver Post, ‘Bipartisanship is another name for date rape.’ Yes, Grover thinks rape is something to joke about to make a political point. And he is so blind to how uncool that is, that he does it publicly. That is how out of touch with the human experience, how heartless, Grover Norquist can be. ‘Bipartisanship is another name for date rape.’ Spoken like a truly oblivious Republican who thinks he doesn’t know anyone who’s been raped or experienced date rape.”


Discussion comments