The Corner

Norquist Chides Lugar for Refusing Anti-Tax Pledge

Senator Dick Lugar’s refusal to sign an anti-tax pledge led Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, to endorse his challenger, Richard Mourdock, Norquist explained in a conference call with reporters this afternoon.

“Dick Lugar has been about one of six Republican senators who have not signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” Norquist noted. “I met twice with his chief of staff [Marty Morris] to walk through why it would be a good idea.” But “Lugar has refused to and said he wants to leave the door open to tax increases in the future.” Mourdock, on the other hand, “has made that written commitment.”

Moreover, Norquist noted that Lugar has a history of getting “taken to the cleaner’s” by tax-hiking Democrats. In 1982 and 1990, Lugar voted for budget deals that raised taxes with the promise of lowering spending in return. Unfortunately, the spending cuts never materialized. “Having been burned twice, Senator Lugar has not learned that you have to take taxes off the table if you’re going to rein in spending and reform government,” Norquist concluded.

Asked by National Review Online to respond to the Lugar campaign’s argument — that Mourdock is unduly relying on Washington, D.C., groups for support — the candidate responds, “The pledge is to the people of Indiana. The groups that I’m getting help from fall under a broad name, and that’s ‘conservative.’ These people believe government should be smaller and taxes should be lower.”

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