Early years and career
Norquist, who is of Swedish descent, grew up in Weston, Massachusetts and has a B.A. and MBA from Harvard University. After leaving professional school, Norquist became executive director of both the National Taxpayers Union and the national College Republicans organization, holding both positions until 1983.
Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform in 1985, at the request of President Ronald Reagan, and has headed the organization ever since. From 1985 to 1988, Norquist was also an economic adviser to Angola UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi. During this period, he was registered with the United States Department of Justice as a foreign agent of Angola.
In addition to heading Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist is currently on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association and the American Conservative Union. He is chairman emeritus of the Islamic Free Market Institute.
Political importance in national politics
Norquist, along with Bill Kristol, Ralph E. Reed, Jr., Clint Bolick, and David McIntosh, is one of the so-called "Gang of Five" identified in Nina Easton's 2000 book by that name, which gives a history of leaders of the modern (post-Goldwater) conservative movement. He has been described as "a thumb-in-the-eye radical rightist" (The Nation), and "Tom Paine crossed with Lee Atwater plus just a soupçon of Madame Defarge" (P.J. O'Rourke). Norquist's page on the web site of Americans for Tax Reform includes a laudatory quote about him from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Indeed, Norquist was one of the co-authors of the 1994 Contract with America.
In 1999, he was instrumental in securing early support for then Texas Governor George W. Bush, continuing a decades-long association with Karl Rove ("The Wall Street Journal's John Fund dubbed him "the Grand Central Station" of conservatism and told The Nation: "It's not disputable" that Norquist was the key to the Bush campaign's surprising level of support from movement conservatives in 2000"). After Bush's election to the White House in 2000, Norquist was the prime architect behind the many Bush tax-cuts ("Grover Norquist: 'Field Marshal' of the Bush Plan").
Norquist is "adept at media appearances ... writes a monthly politics column for the American Spectator magazine, and frequently speaks at regional and state think tanks of the conservative movement," according to the critical website MediaTransparency.Org.
- ATR | Mission Statement
- NRA Leaders - Grover Norquist
- American Conservative Union
- Suellentrop, Chris (2003-07-07). "Grover Norquist: The Republican Party's Prophet of Permanence", Slate.
- Dreyfus, Robert (2001-04-26). "Grover Norquist: 'Field Marshall' of the Bush Plan", The Nation.
This article was taken from Wikipedia on 3/26/09