There's a man whose endorsement is golden,
To whom GOP reps are beholden;
Who summarily axes
The few who raise taxes,
Should ever they feel so emboldened.
In the ongoing stalemate over the federal debt ceiling, many take note of the bind put on House Speaker John Boehner by the Tea Party wing of his Republican caucus; but, how many know of the thrall in which nearly all GOP House members, including the Speaker himself, are held by Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform? Drawing on the political legacy of Ronald Reagan, Joe McCarthy and Madame DeFarge, Norquist pressures every GOP candidate to sign his group's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," and delivers swift and relentless political retribution to those who break it. In Norquist's view, any revenue increase, even from closing loopholes, constitutes a "tax hike." It may be no exaggeration to say that this one man has done more than anyone else in Washington to undermine a budget compromise.