HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Republican lawmakers who vote for tax increases are “rat heads in a Coke bottle,” anti-tax activist Grover Norquist said during a speech Friday at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, a conservative gathering where he was a featured speaker.
Last week, Norquist called Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval a “rat” for supporting tax increases. This week, Norquist expanded the attack, saying that the same way Coca-Cola would lose customers if a rat head was found in a Coke bottle, Republicans voting for tax increases “damage the brand.” Instead, Norquist said, the GOP needs conservatives like former President Ronald Reagan who oppose taxes at all costs:
NORQUIST: Don’t raise taxes. Tax reform? Sure. Reduce rates, broaden the base, like Reagan did. … No net tax increases! [...]
Republican elected officials who vote for tax increases are rat heads in a Coke bottle.
By invoking Reagan to make his case, however, Norquist is again ignoring Reagan’s legacy. Reagan was a serial revenue raiser, hiking taxes a total of 11 times and in seven of his eight years in office. His 1982 tax increase was the largest peacetime increase in American history, and contrary to Norquist’s anti-tax beliefs, was immediately followed by “exceptionally strong” economic and job growth.
Norquist, of course, is well aware of Reagan’s tax raising legacy, he just chooses to ignore it. In a recent appearance on The Daily Show, Norquist laughably refused to criticize Reagan, saying he didn’t hold the tax increases against the conservative hero because “he hadn’t signed the pledge.”