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NEW YORK – Obama’s decision to cut short his Hawaii vacation and fly back to Washington was all about political theater, not a legitimate desire to negotiate and compromise with Republicans in Congress, charged anti-tax activist Grover Norquist.
“This is all about blaming people,” he said in an exclusive interview with WND at the end of a wild Thursday on Wall Street and in Washington.
Norquist insisted the president isn’t negotiating.
“He flies back from Hawaii, but there is no new White House proposal on the table,” he said. “This is all about Obama wanting the optics to be, ‘Oh, aren’t I hard at work.’ But if there were any new proposal coming forth from the White House, we would have heard about the details by now.”
Norquist argued Boehner had to call everyone in his Republican caucus back to Washington or else the Democrats in Congress would accuse the GOP of not trying.
“Obama wants to go over the fiscal cliff at this point, so for the next four years he can explain the failure of the economy caused by his taxes, his spending, and his regulations is the fault of the Republicans going over the cliff for 10 days or two weeks,” Norquist said. “Obama can’t keep blaming Bush for the next four years. That gets tiresome.”
In a wild day on Wall Street Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell below 13,000, losing 148 points at the day’s low, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid castigated House Speaker John Boehner as operating the House as a “dictatorship of the speaker.” Reid indicated a fiscal cliff deal before the Dec. 31 deadline was unlikely.
On Thursday afternoon, after President Obama’s airplane landed at a suburban Maryland Air Force Base, word circulated in Washington that President Obama had reached out to Senate GOP leadership with a new proposal, although specifics on a new proposal were not readily available.
At approximately 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, an hour before the stock market closed, House Whip Eric Cantor announced House Speaker Boehner had called the House back to session this Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m., suggesting the House would stay in session through New Years Eve and New Years Day, if necessary.
With Boehner’s announcement, the DJIA bounced back, with stocks rallying to end the roller-coaster day at 13,096.31, down 18.28.
Still, Norquist could not see that anything had fundamentally changed in the fiscal cliff debate in Congress.
“There’s nothing here that jumps out and says something is happening,” he said.
“This is all about Obama protecting the Senate. It’s an effort to keep the heat on Boehner while keeping the Senate from having to cast a vote on tax or spending issues,” said Norquist. “Half of the Democrats up in the Senate could easily lose in 2014 if they voted for a liberal alternative to the Ryan plan.”
Norquist argued that with the stock market move today, Wall Street sent a message to Washington that the business community and investors are concerned about how much damage to the economy eliminating the Bush tax cuts across the board would do.
“The Democratic Senate leadership keeps saying we’re not doing entitlement reform, we’re not doing Medicare reform, we’re not doing Medicaid reform, we’re not going to lower marginal tax rates. But it’s not everyone in the Democratic Senate that wants to stake out a hard-left position; it’s the leadership, not those Democrat senators up for re-election in 2014.”
Norquist told WND the GOP and the Democrats in Congress appear to be still at loggerheads, with the GOP caucus indicating by rejecting the Boehner “Plan B” compromise that it is unwilling to increase marginal tax rates, even for the highest income earners, and the White House continuing to refuse to negotiate seriously any meaningful spending cuts.