Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has recently made a miniature attack out of the notion that his opponent John Kasich will raise taxes on seniors. As part of the attack, Strickland argues that this is a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge put forward by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), which would put Kasich at loggerheads with antitax activists and fiscal conservatives within the GOP.
Except, according to Grover Norquist, the President of ATR, the whole thing is fabricated. Norquist spoke to Battle ‘10 about the Strickland attack in uncompromising terms.
“This is their effort to muddy the waters, make things unclear, and in point of fact, he’s been very clear and very strong saying ‘I’m not going to raise taxes,’” Norquist said. “They’re trying to pull the same stunt in Pennsylvania against Corbett by misreading him saying he’s for raising one tax while cutting others, and taking half of that and saying ‘Well, he’s for raising taxes.’ The Pledge, as you know, is a Pledge not to raise net taxes. There’s nothing in the Pledge that says you can’t raise taxes in one area, and cut them in another area, as long as it’s dollar for dollar.”
When asked if Kasich would be Ohio’s version of Chris Christie, Norquist sounded optimistic notes. “That’s what he’s saying, and that’s how he’s campaigning, and that’s why I think people are reacting strongly to his message,” Norquist said. “Their team has tried several attacks on him, none of which have worked. The good news is all Republicans ran as Reagan Republicans after Reagan succeeded. Now Republicans are running as Chris Christie Republicans partially because people saw the failure of Obama and the success of Chris Christie. Kasich will be a different person, but certainly the fact that Kasich has been in Congress, has fought for limited spending, has been a budget hawk, and watched the failure of spending under Bush and massive failure of spending under Obama makes it possible for him to run on a Christie platform and sound credible.”
Norquist accused the Democrats of peddling an attack narrative against Kasich in order to distract from their own failed record and lack of vision, likening the election to a job interview where one candidate spends all his time badmouthing the other candidates. He also said that Strickland’s accusation that Kasich would raise taxes was based solely on a projection based on what Strickland would do in order to balance the budget.
But when asked about OH-9 candidate and Nazi reenactor Rich Iott, Norquist struck a humorous note. “I’ve only ever heard about him on the Bill Maher show,” Norquist said.