California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton unleashed his famously colorful rhetoric this morning against conservative activist Grover Norquist, who's repeatedly criticized Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislators for seeking to ask voters to extend tax increases to balance the budget.
In a news release, Burton honed in on a statement by Norquist made to The Washington Post, in which he said about the budget battles in Washington, "I think golf and cocaine would be more constructive ways to spend one's free time than negotiating with Democrats on spending restraint."
Burton's response: "I have always considered golf a good walk spoiled. As a recovering cocaine addict, I am surprised that anyone would think that it is at all constructive to spend one's free time using that drug.
"One would think that Mr. Norquist made this comment with a straw in his hand bending over a mirror full of white power." The state Democratic Party confirmed Burton meant to say "powder" in the news release.
Norquist's Washington, D.C.-based group Americans for Tax Reform has not yet responded to a request for comment from The Bee about Burton's statement.
Americans for Tax Reform has warned California Republican legislators who have signed its anti-tax pledge that approving any move to put tax extensions on the ballot would be considered a violation of the pledge. That position has drawn heavy criticism from Democrats and Brown himself, who called Norquist's stands "pathetic" earlier this month.
Burton echoed some of that criticism this morning as the state GOP gathers for its three-day convention.
"Californians must be trusted to exercise their right to vote - that's how things work in a democracy. What remains of the sensible part of the Republican Party needs to speak loudly against out of touch, and out-to-lunch Republicans like Grover Norquist."
Photo: Randy Pench/Sacramento Bee