Nothing Screams Moderate and Independent like Nathan Fletcher Signing the Grover Norquist Pledge!

by on May 1, 2012 · 14 comments

in Economy, Election, Popular, San Diego

Screen capture from flashreport.org of Nathan Fletcher signing Grover Norquist's "No Tax" Pledge while Norquist observes the signing.

 I’m leaving party politics. I’m leaving behind a system that is completely dysfunctional.”

Nathan Fletcher, announcing his mayoral run as an Independent

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“Is you is or is you ain’t my baby
Maybe baby’s found somebody new
Or is my baby still my baby true?”

Louis Jordan

Nathan Fletcher’s recent decision to leave the Republican Party and campaign as an Independent has resulted in two interesting responses. A group of local executives, inspired by Fletcher’s decision, has formed a “Movement to the Middle.” Their pledge declares “I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am an American.” It is worth noting that these shakers and movers also support Fletcher’s candidacy.

The U-T San Diego’s editorial board, clearly in the Carl DeMaio camp, took Fletcher to task for what they perceived as the muddle of mush in the middle. Did this mean Fletcher would negotiate with those evil labor unions? Does Independent mean “compromise is always good?”

Fletcher responds in code to allay the concerns of anxious conservatives with “There is no compromise when it comes to the public interest or protecting taxpayers.”

Context is everything here. Linda Perine describes the intent of the right wing “to roll back the reforms of the 20th Century. This well documented ‘privatization movement’ is supported by Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist, funded by the Koch brothers and embodied in San Diego by Carl DeMaio and Nathan Fletcher.”

Then Fletcher tacks toward the center in an appropriately Kumbaya moment with “We passed legislation by building bipartisan coalitions around shared goals.” In Jim Miller’s article Flunking Fletcher, one is left to wonder about those “shared goals.” But this is the kind of locution that leaves the middle mind movement all swoon-y. They are able to maintain their high self regard while at the same time remaining secure in the knowledge that Fletcher will never be a threat to their business/corporate bottom line.

With a wink and nod to conservatives, independents and liberals alike, Nathan Fletcher promises that “I welcome support from anyone who shares my vision for our city.” It would be more truthful if Fletcher promised that he would support anyone who shares his AND Grover Norquist’s vision for our city. Yes, Fletcher signed on to the Norquist pledge and as a born again Independent has not recanted his partisan ways or “deeply held core principles” on the subject, whichever way he views it at the moment.

Grover Norquist has never held public office, but he crafted the anti-tax pledge that has become the DNA of the GOP. Taxes are never to be raised anytime, anywhere, anyhow under any circumstances. (So help me God.) Do you remember the pathetic scene in the Republican presidential candidate debates this past year? Candidates were asked to raise their hand if they would support raising one dollar of taxes for ten dollars in federal government cuts. No one would dare to take on The Grover, although Jon Huntsman recently said that he regretted that insanity.

As citizens, we want our elected representatives to uphold the Constitution, and to work toward shared goals in our states and municipalities. What does it mean when our representative has signed an iron clad pledge to Grover Norquist and his billionaire special interest backers who are averse to reducing the entitlements (loopholes) that we give to corporate interests or raising taxes on millionaires? As Tim Dickinson put it in his Rolling Stone article, it means our democratic process is being undermined and that our representatives have become “slaves to an idiot’s idea of how the world works.”

Behold Nathan Fletcher, the Independent, who has signed on with Grover Norquist– a man that few of us know and whom we never elected to the position of dog catcher. Behold Nathan Fletcher, who requires no ideological litmus test to participate with him in our municipal vision, but has no problem signing on to the Norquist pledge, the ideological litmus test of the extreme, radical right wing.

So now we have a mayoral candidate, so calm, so rational, so likable and attractive who has decided to ditch his allegiance to you and me for the greater good of making government so small that we can drown it in a bathtub a la Grover Norquist. People who are currently on the fence, including life long Democrats, are distinctly turned off by the toxic implications of the Grover Norquist tax pledge, and recoil when they are made aware of Fletcher’s fealty. But many of them haven’t been. They are left with “calm, rational, likable and bipartisan.”

The U-T can indulge in frantic pearl clutching as Fletcher edges past DeMaio, but the truth is that the U-T wins and all those independent executive types also win if either Fletcher or DeMaio becomes our next mayor. Doug Manchester’s ego may be wounded, but life will go on as normal in our fair city. What about life for the rest of us who look at our underfunded libraries, our crumbling infrastructure, our lack of living wages and the lack of transparency in our government? Why does it feel as though we are first in line to be drowned in the bathtub?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar judi Curry May 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

Well done Anna. If your article doesn’t get people to thinking about the “turn of events”, then all hope is gone.

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avatar Terry Gardner May 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm

It appears to me that Nathan Fletcher is just a republican wearing an independents clothing.

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avatar Frank Gormlie May 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Excellent work, Anna! So timely and so appreciated. You had Jess Durfee, the head of the local Democratic Party tweeting it this morning.

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avatar doug porter May 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm

brilliant. totally f**n’ brilliant. probably the most damaging thing i’ve seen to the “kumbaya” campaign. I’m sure Fletcher will be a great addition to the Port Commission or even the Library ReVitalization Committee of the Filner administration; after all, he looks much better on camera than Bob ever will.

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avatar aaryn b. May 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm

“Movement to the Middle”? Pretty convenient dog whistle for Fletcher fans, since the middle is now somewhere to the distant right of where it ought to be.

Nice work, Anna. I’m sending this to all my Democrat friends who have turned their backs on Filner so they can bat their eyelashes at Fletcher from a better vantage point.

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avatar Blaisej May 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Never knew that there were photo opps for deals with the Devil.

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avatar Anna Daniels May 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I truly do not understand why this issue has not been raised during any of the mayoral debates. Why do you suppose that is? Shouldn’t there be some probing of “core principles?”
The Norquist pledge means that our public services will continue to be cut; fees for public services will be raised where possible; we will depend on alms from our philanthropists, often resulting in two tiered, separate and unequal services and lack of public accountability; and of course every lifeguard tower and trash can on our beaches and in our parks will be plastered with advertisements. The private sector will flourish with the munificence of privatization measures while the public sector withers. And that, of course is the point.
If the moderators at future debates do not ask the important questions, those of us in the audience must, at every opportunity.

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avatar JMW May 2, 2012 at 7:18 am

“I welcome support from anyone who shares my vision for our city.”
Couldn’t we say: He welcomes support from anyone who shares his self-aggrandizing effort to elevate himself to the highest possible level of power. I ask because that sums him up for me. There is no more to him than that. I suspect he would toss Norquist, his mother, the baby, flag, state, or nation, if he could and thought he could gain by doing so. It is depressing that this dick is, apparently, still a viable option for voters. He ought to be irrelevant – that would be in a world not run by the Red Queen. He is a paint job that will soon fade no matter what he “promises”.
“… an idiot’s idea of how the world works.”
The “idiot” might not be so dumb after all; by inference, he’s in charge.

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avatar Andy Cohen May 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm

There’s a lot to be concerned about with Fletcher, but there’s a helluva lot more to be concerned about with DeMaio. The Grover pledge is particularly off-putting to me, and the fact that he hasn’t moved off of his anti-worker stances glares at me. But compared to DeMaio and the feckless Dumanis……..the guy is a friggin’ genius.

But…….while there’s a lot to be concerned about, there’s also a lot to be intrigued by. I’m not saying I’m going to vote for the guy (I’m not, although Filner is really kind of pissing me off with his invisibility routine), but I still think we have a lot to learn about the guy. He has never really been challenged, as far as I can tell, about his policy positions and the real reason behind his switch to Independent status. It’s incredibly difficult to not believe it was done solely out of political expedience, particularly given his policy positions and the speech he gave just two weeks prior in trying to earn the SD Republican Party endorsement. He’s never been challenged on that; never been forced to address it directly. That’s what really bothers me about him and this race. And until he is pressed on it, he’ll continue to hold a broad appeal to moderate Dems and Independents.

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avatar doug porter May 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Let me be the first to start the “hold your nose and vote for Filner” brigade. Because voting for any of the other three running for office represents a step backwards for San Diego. Ask yourself:
Do want Grover Norquist running this City?
Do you want a disciple of Newt Gingrich running this City?
Do we really need to have our government cater to a small group of developers at the expense of our city’s neighborhoods?
No..? then the choice is obvious.

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avatar Andy Cohen May 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm

But therein lies the problem: We shouldn’t have to hold our noses when we punch our ballots. Filner should be giving us every confidence in the world, and yet somehow he’s not.

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avatar doug porter May 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Is it really that much of a problem? Who among us is Perfect? Join the hold yer nose brigade, Andy.

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avatar Anna Daniels May 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Andy- you are absolutely right. We shouldn’t have to hold our nose. That being said, grab a clothespin…. I’ll be using one to vote for president, but vote I will, because elections have consequences.

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avatar mEden May 8, 2012 at 8:51 am

“Independent.” Does anyone believe that?!

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