In 2012, Republican strategist Grover Norquist described his ideal president. In 2017, he got his wish: a president with enough “working digits to be able to hold a pen.”
And this idiot-with-a-pen philosophy, I have come to believe, is as good an explanation as any for why Republicans stick to Trump no matter how blatantly ignorant, unhinged, racist, inappropriate, infantile and illegal he reveals himself to be. They’ve made their deal with the devil–as long as he gives Republicans what they want–which is abortion, guns, anti-immigrant policies, white supremacy and freedom to weaponize Christianity against anyone or anything they don’t like, they’ll support him and let his bullying run wild.
Here’s what Norquist cynically fantasized about and shared at the annual CPAC meeting in 2012:
Here’s what I wrote about the Norquist doctrine back in 2017:
Norquist’s dream became reality on Trump’s first day in office. Republican Congressional leaders ginned up an executive order —an order that Trump probably didn’t understand [did anyone?]—and handed him a pen. As per Norquists’ prescription, Trump didn’t think it up or design it. They just put it in front of him, at a hastily arranged signing/photo op, at which he also rotely signed executive orders waiving decades of precedent preventing military officers [Mattis] from assuming Cabinet positions within seven years of having left the military .
According to the New York Times, the ACA executive order’s “broad language gave federal agencies wide latitude to change, delay or waive provisions of the law that they deemed overly costly for insurers, drug makers, doctors, patients or states, suggesting that it could have wide-ranging impact, and essentially allowing the dismantling of the law to begin even before Congress moves to repeal it.”
Judging from the look on Trump’s face when he signed it, he did not know what was on the piece of paper handed to him by his chief of staff, Reince Preibus. [He gave it a cursory look, as if to appear to read it, but unless he is a super speed reader, he didn’t.]
Look for more orchestrated signings like this over the next four years. Game, set and match to Grover Norquist.