Anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist so enjoyed his time at Burning Man this year that he’d like to return next summer with a “Dream Team” of Republican lawmakers.
A festival virgin, Norquist admitted to HOH that his presuppositions of what transpires each August in the pop-up community in northwestern Nevada might have been a tad off-base.
“I thought everybody dressed up almost in costume,” he said, sharing that he’d carted along a Guy Fawkes mask, a Russian-style army jacket and French foreign legion hat (complete with neck flaps) for his four-day stay in the desert.
Once there, the conservative firebrand quickly realized being a freethinker doesn’t always correlate to acting freaky.
“Nobody I dealt with was dressing like that. And only one in 100 forgot to wear clothes,” Norquist said of his introduction to life in Black Rock City.
He got to know the locals a bit better by bending the elbow with some until around 2:30 a.m. at an absinthe bar and trading Cuban cigars for roughing-it essentials (lip balm, mini flashlights) with others during the day. His curiosity piqued, Norquist laid out for Fusion.net the GOP leaders he could see benefiting from a trip out in 2015.
His top picks were Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and California Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Darrell Issa and Dana Rohrabacher.
Norquist said including Paul on the list was a no-brainer because of his libertarian bent.
“These guys get freedom. It’s not top-down, it’s bottom-up spontaneous order … which is to say, Rand Paul world,” he said, estimating that the presumed 2016 presidential candidate “would fit in comfortably and easily as a cool Republican.”
Norquist figures Issa would be at home among the tech-savvy and creatively inclined constituents of the ersatz town. “It helps to get you thinking about stuff that doesn’t exist yet,” he said of the prevailing vibe in Black Rock City.
And he calculates McCarthy and Rohrabacher could easily connect with the Southern California golden boys floating all around.
Alas, the lack of coastline pretty much rules Rohrabacher out. “He appreciates Grover’s thoughtful suggestion, but because that part of California has no surf, he’d prefer spending that time in his district, which does,” a Rohrabacher aide explained in declining Norquist’s invite.
Issa left the door open to making the trek someday, but seemed to stop short of signing on to specifically pal around with Norquist.
“It’s clear that festival-goers are strong proponents of liberty, as well as personal responsibility. I couldn’t agree with those philosophies more,” Issa shared with HOH via email. “I’d love to experience the festival first hand.”
Team Paul declined to map out any extended travel plans, but did confirm Norquist is the “first public figure to encourage Rand’s participation.”
Teamed up or not, Norquist is pretty much committed to giving the whole psychedelic scene another go next year. “Assuming that life allows, I am already half packed,” he said.
Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., the lawmaker who actually represents the district Burning Man calls home — and has the commemorative signage to prove it — basically wished any colleagues considering such an adventure the very best of luck.
(Courtesy Mark Amodei)
“Love the event, been invited many times, but I still haven’t been able to pass the entrance exam for attendance,” Amodei shared. “Tell Grover I’ll drive his group as far as the main gate.”
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