If Grover looked like he does in the illustration above, that would’ve been great. He had an “outrageous” Soviet-era military uniform that he’d picked up in Afghanistan and was hoping to wear on Burn night; looks like he may have changed his mind.
When Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, wasn’t hanging out at an absinthe bar until 2:30 in the morning at Burning Man, he spent his time with Fusion. It’s hard to imagine what a suit-and-tie-toting DC insider like Norquist would look like in the middle of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for one of the world’s most extreme and experimental events.
“I brought some outrageous stuff,” he told Fusion. That included an old Russian uniform he got in Afghanistan and large collection of Cuban cigars.
What does Norquist like about Burning Man?
“There’s no mayor, no city council… If you leave people alone, they’ll figure it out. You don’t need the king to tell everybody what to do,” said the man known for his no-tax pledge. But the question you might be asking yourself: What does Burning Man think of Norquist? There was certainly controversy surrounding the conservative’s appearance at the event. Ahead of Norquist’s trip, Vice’s Tom Berman wrote, “I hope you chance upon some synthetic psychedelics. I hope you wind up lying on your back in the dust, eating peanut butter with a spoon…” and it gets worse from there. But we can tell you, Norquist did pretty well once on the ground. When asked if he was coming back, Norquist responded, “Oh, absolutely.”
He’s not just coming back. He’s planning to bring some big-name Republicans with him:
When Grover Norquist went to Burning Man, he had a dream. It was that Senator Rand Paul would be by his side next year. In a video exclusive, Fusion’s Cleo Stiller had a chance to pal around with Norquist — the founder of Americans for Tax Reform and a prominent conservative — at the event.
When asked who would be Grover’s ‘dream team’ at Burning Man, Norquist didn’t have to think twice: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). All Californians, go figure, except for one… a personal challenge from Grover Norquist to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). “I think if he came out here, he’d carry the art vote,” Norquist laughed.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) thought it would be fun to hint at a 2016 presidential run in his RSVP to a Burning Man event.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, went to the desert festival this summer and recently asked Paul to join him there next year.
“Thank you kindly for the invitation, Grover. I’ll certainly consider it, but I think I might be pretty busy next summer,” Paul responded in a statement to Fusion, possibly a sign that Paul will be campaigning for president by the summer of 2015.
Norquist told Fusion that he’d like a “dream team” of Republicans to attend Burning man with him next year, including three California congressman: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Darrell Issa.
While Paul seems too popular to join Norquist’s team, Issa told Fusion he’d consider attending.
“It’s clear that festival-goers are strong proponents of liberty, as well as personal responsibility. I couldn’t agree with those philosophies more. I’d love to experience the festival firsthand,” Issa said.
The Democrats were well represented at the Burn too, with former Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich attending as a guest of Burning Man’s Social Alchemist Bear Kittay, who was part of Obama’s Presidential Campaign.
Just landed in Reno. On my way to #BurningMan. Speaking Thursday.
He gave interviews from the Playa about Obamacare, among other topics:
Despite previous claims of “counter-culture”, BMOrg are quite at home with the suits and politicians, and employ multiple lobbyists:
Governor Sandoval signing AB374 into law. Seated: Gov. Brian Sandoval; Standing from left to right: Adam Belsky, Counsel for BRC LLC; Robert Shirley; Tom Clark, Lobbyist for BRC LLC; Shannon Hogan, Lobbyist for BRC LLC; Jim Shirley, District Attorney for Pershing County; Sen. David Parks; Assemblyman & bill sponsor David Bobzien; Marian Goodell, Founder, BRC LLC; Raymond Allen, Government Affairs Representative for BRC LLC
Another recognizable political figure was spotted on the Playa this year too (photos by Jake Balakoohi):
Burning Man is starting to look more and more like the Default World.
Pingback: Q Part II – Aleksandr Qgin and the Qouncil On National Policy | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man
Pingback: 28% Veterans: Virgin Import Continues | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man
Pingback: Who’s The Best Burning Man Talker? | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man
Pingback: 14 Tips For Getting Burning Man Tickets in the Individual Sale | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man
Pingback: The Burner Behind the Holodeck | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man
Pingback: Does Commodification Matter? | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man
Pingback: What’s In A Name? | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man
Pingback: “Failure!” – Tananbaum Gets Called Out by BM Director | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man
I think what is profoundly meaningful about Grover Norquist’s burning man attendance and its impact on him is that he recognized that part of what it is about is the capacity to learn and grow. Folks may think Grover’s libertarianism is “high school,” but he is open to learning. We all have parts of our thinking that are stunted-“high school”, even–the idea that we can just “disappear” the people who do not agree with us, for example, is a childish fantasy, only real when your empire is your home and family. Many of us see problems in our culture, and none of us know how to fix them. Grover has one take on what he perceives the problems to be–and Burning Man is an environment in which experimentation is possible. Yes, there are lots of regulations that he did not see–yes, there are fees. But what is also true is that he witnessed people being willing to give to each other without being regulated. He was able to confirm that his suspicion of people’s goodness was real. And he was able to see this while also seeing all the stuff people often judge as “bad.” I have no doubt that he will learn about all the other stuff that it takes to make a city–all the hard work, money, etc. I am not a fan of Grover’s politics–I think rules protect the environment, and taxes help people who are the necessary victims of an expansionist economy. But that is just my opinion, and beyond my opinion is my ability to connect with others, to learn and grow and not be an idealogue but a human being first. And in the end, maybe it is more important that the guy who needs the shoes got the shoes, not whether he got them by gifting or government policy. Grover will learn because he is open to learning. Me, too, Grover.
Time will tell…so far it just seems like he’s bragging that he’s cool because he went to Burning Man, using us to build his social capital. Will he do good with the lessons he learned? I hope so.
Depends on if he is spinning the event for effect, or if he us just under-informed on how much the event is an example of big oligarchic government, and federal regulations. Interesting if it is spin, because he is simply using the same ambiguous hooks that the BOrg has put there for their own manipulations of perceptions. Wonder how much Larry and Grover want to hang out together. Wonder if Grover will prove to have more integrity.
Pingback: Commodification Camp Concerns | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man
Pingback: First We Take Manhattan | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man
Pingback: 2014 Census Results | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man
I don’t think it matters that Norquist has claimed that Burning Man fits into his stated ideology. He is convinced that Burning Man is a successful model, and once he learns more about what it is, he’ll have something concrete to base his policy on (as opposed to just his imagination). He’s not only interested in taxes – he has also said that we should have fewer federal laws. Now that he can attend functional high-freedom environments, this prescription can gain specificity and depth.
Pingback: Selling Out Part I – Wrapping The Gifting | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man
What is hilarious is that he thinks that Burning Man happens with now taxes, no fees, nor “King”. Well he didn’t ask anyone who has to fill out form after form for the privileged of bringing and building their project on the playa. The unholy amount (increasing every year) of rules and regulations we agree to. And the main reason Burning Man is allowed by the government of Nevada is the huge amounts of money, (included in that are sales tax revenues and revenue in the form of speeding tickets and fines for illegal substances) that BMan generates for the state , counties and Reno. All that has nothing to do with a smaller government.
Yes and yes. Like I commented earlier, there’s a shit-ton of (necessary, in my opinion) governmental regulations that protect a natural resource like the Black Rock Desert, as well as LEO and other first responders, that have to be in place before an event like Burning Man could even happen. The BM bureaucracy you mention is another matter. I think a lot of it is necessary to sustain an event of this size. But sure, Norquist can survey the playa form the First Camp lookout and proclaim, “See, small government works!” Because he’s a fucking tool.
Norquist’s ideology is pure high-school libertarianism. As long as you’re of sound mind and body and are lucky enough to not have any personal/familial/financial calamities befall you, it works. Of course, the world ain’t like that. He can twist Burning Man into something that represents that worldview all he wants, while ignoring the governmental infrastructure that allows for such an event to happen.
This is why I’m not sold on the idea that simply getting these people to BM will be beneficial in some way. The event is a Rorschach test, and can be imbued with whatever meaning you want. But whatever, Larry’s new teeth look nice.
Can you imagine Grover Norquist’s ideal world? No taxes, no child labor laws, no environmental regulations, no OSHA, no labor laws or rights, no social security, no medicare, and the list could go on and on. He’s nothing more than an advocate for the so-called 1% and their agendas which basically means fucking over the vast majority of the country. Who will he bring next the Koch brothers?
“My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
Grover Norquist quote
“He’s nothing more than an advocate for the so-called 1% and their agendas which basically means fucking over the vast majority of the country. ”
The so-called 1% will be unable to prosper at the expense of others without a massive police state apparatus dedicated to enslaving and coercing all others to exist for the benefit of the elite.
No state means no monopoly on crime. No longer will the elite have a massive military and police state to serve and protect them. Getting rid of their means will not empower them…much the opposite.
Do you read the news at all? A police state is exactly where we’re headed. The Snowden documents, the militarization of the police, etc. prove this conclusively.
Plus the 1% are nothing but hypocrites. Their goal is no rules for them but plenty of rules for the remaining 99%. Can you in all good conscience believe our wealthy overlords will allow a state to exist where they cannot exercise extreme force to maintain their position and to squelch any and all opposition?
My god I’m amazed at how blissfully ignorant many are…Your comment speaks of extreme if not willful ignorance. No wonder the US is on a downward slope when such stupidity prevails.
Surprising to see which of them was least expressive in their garb. Dennis needs to fire his costume coordinator.
Don’t have to go anymore, just wait for the “Film at 11.”
That these guys feel at home says quite a bit. But they are taking the Commodification path to the playa. …I suppose that is the intent of the BOrg. Will there be a $500 airplane pass next year?