We’re taking a look a Grover Norquist’s writings because he is a prime mover behind the scenes in the American political arena for the Republicans. There are many articles citing his influence, most notably about his requiring all Republican candidates to sign a pledge that they will never raise taxes. Norquist is also famous for his widely quoted comment that he wants to shrink government “down to the size where [we] can drown it in the bathtub.” Some folks argue that the tax pledge is a myth perpetrated by the left but, regardless, there seems to be a strong perception that he is extremely influential. The organization he heads, Americans For Tax Reform (ATR), seems to have a very large war chest, portions of which it shares with chosen Republican candidates that meet its criteria and, quite probably, at Norquist’s discretion.
Our analyses support that Norquist feels more comfortable being a power behind the throne rather than being an actual candidate. The chart “The measure of a candidate’s thoughts”, shown below, tends to support this and demonstrates a consistency over all of the writings we analyzed. Also, the consistency of the author’s Blue Sky numbers across all the articles implies that Norquist believes in what he’s saying and probably is quite happy in his “enabling” role.
Norquist consistently keeps his writings on point. The Author Blue Sky analysis results show he consistently scrubs even the minimalist padding that tends to lubricate a flow of words in the usual social situation. Only one or two of the several articles went above 3%, with only one actually hitting 50%; Raising Taxes Would Doom GOP in 2008. In that case the analysis implies Norquist seemed to have felt obligated to write an article to make a point but thought that the article would have no impact and, possibly, was a waste of time. This was the only extreme “Author Blue Sky” measurement deviation noted within the twelve writing samples chosen for this study.
A look at the Political Messaging numbers (below) supports the thought that Norquist likes to work in the trenches and not take lead on the battlefield. The “I am leadership material” is in the sixties percentile and “I am Electable in the fifties consistently over all of the articles examined. He is thoroughly convinced that he knows what is best for the country and genuinely feels the country is more important than his career. “I have a Vision for This Country” is consistently between 90% and 100%, while “I Have a Vision” hovers in the 40 to mid-fifties percent range.
The numbers also support Norquist’s more passive, but extremely critical, role in that he appears to feel well qualified to lead the nation to his vision of what he thinks the country needs but is not certain he can pull it off. His “I am of The People” numbers indicate he doesn’t feel he would sufficiently inspire people to follow him or be comfortable with him as a leader. In other words, finding the right leaders and influencing them is his best opportunity for achieving his goals.
The Age and Gender Persuasion charts below illustrate that Norquist tends to appeal more to men than women. Unsurprisingly, the target age group varies with the target audience for a given article. This is the one area where he appears to be inconsistent but, in actuality, isn’t. He is carefully targeting the group the article has been written for. His writings are very well crafted and he seems to avoid writing articles that try to be all things to all people.
The Blue Sky number below indicates that Norquist feels what he says will stand on its own right and any fact checking will confirm what he says. This goes with his belief that he knows what is the best course for the country, as mentioned above.
In sum, Norquist is effective and, probably, an honest political operative who is firm and public in his beliefs and extremely influential (see Gang of Five in Nina Easton’s 2000 book). On an editorial note, he has a tendency to make allusions to some bad (or even horrible situations, past and present), and equating them to Obama’s or the Democrats’ actions. It’s very effective propaganda, unfortunately, rather transparent to our Blue Sky analysis algorithms. However, it was pointed out by NextStage’s Joesph Davis that if Norquist doesn’t think his attacks on Obama/Democrats are BS, they won’t show up as BS, hence BlueSky will give it a low BS score. Irrespective of how one feels about him, its another indication of Norquist’s effectiveness as a behind the scenes political operative for the Republican Party.