Governors and Grover

This past December, Grover Norquist mentioned a host of Republican governors as “potentially serious contenders in 2016:”

Norquist listed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as potentially serious contenders in 2016.

He is right: any of these governors would be good, and a dead solid improvement over the incompetent ideologue now is office. However, Grover Norquist is not without some baggage. He is best known for his tax pledge, but also for alleged unsavory ties to islamists.

The tax pledge is a purity test, and such tests are troubling. They’re great for faculty lounge debates, but should have no place in actual governance, as they hinder the give-and-take that is essential when there are two or more factions. Let’s not forget that the Republican caucus is somewhat resistant to marching in lockstep. Which is one of its strengths, unlike the other party, in which diversity is worshiped until it comes to diversity of ideas.

As for Norquist’s alleged ties to islamists, these would, if proven, be disqualifying: no one should give anything he might say any hearing. The key words are “if proven.” To date and to my knowledge, they have not been. So we at least should hear what he has to say, without kowtowing.

As for Gov. Brownback, he is but one of several very impressive Republican governors. Best advice? Let those candidates who wish to try for the prize demonstrate to us in the Republican Party why they should be our standard bearer. Who touts them is secondary.

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