Grover Norquist, GOP prophet of permanence.

Taking stock of people and ideas in the news.
July 7 2003 7:13 PM

Grover Norquist

The Republican Party's prophet of permanence.

(Continued from Page 1)

Because of that respect for the state, Norquist sees every election as world-historical. "The 2000 elections will decide the Democrats' future," he wrote in 1999. A year earlier, he fretted that if President Clinton "retakes the House for liberalism, his place in history will be on a par with that of FDR or JFK." Norquist has counterfactual nightmares along the same lines. He told Reason in 1997: "I mean, four more years of Carter, and Central America would have been communist, and South America would have been communist, and they would have rolled up Africa, they would have rolled up Latin America. We could have lost the whole shooting match to what we now know as a rather pathetic Soviet empire. But they still could have beaten us if Carter had continued supervising our team." He also confessed to Reason that he feared that Clinton's effort to implement universal health care could have relegated the Republicans to permanent minority status:  "Had the Democrats taken over health care, I think we would have become a social democracy and we could have never undone it. We wouldn't have won in '94, and even if we did, it wouldn't matter because 50 percent of the population would be on the take."

The Republicans are in power forever—until the next election, when the Democrats could be in power forever. Norquist lives on the brink. His fear of what the terrifying power of the state would be like under complete Democratic control explains his willingness to make a rare departure from the GOP line to oppose the Patriot Act. As the prophet of Republican permanence told Salon: "Someday Hillary Clinton's going to be attorney general, and I hope conservatives keep that in mind."

Chris Suellentrop is the deputy editor for blogs at Yahoo News and a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. He has reviewed video games for Slate, Rolling Stone, and Follow him on Twitter.


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 17 2014 4:21 PM Why the Poor Pay $1,400 for Old iPads #MuckReads: A weekly roundup of investigative reporting from ProPublica.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 1:54 PM Republican Midterm Debate Strategy: Be Pro-Life, But Not Anti-Abortion
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 19 2014 7:30 AM Persistence Pays Off: The Smoking Trail of a Shooting Star
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.