Bush 41's tax flip-flop hailed as courageous

Former President George H.W. Bush will be honored in May for his decision to break his “no new taxes” pledge almost a quarter century ago.

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The 41st president will receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, which will be presented by the former president’s grandson, Jack Schlossberg.

Schlossberg said in a statement that “Bush risked his reputation and ultimately his political career by forging an important compromise on the budget in 1990 that moved our country forward, and should not be forgotten.”

The budget deal that Bush struck in 1990 ­­– which mixed tax increases and spending cuts – is widely seen as playing a role in President Bill Clinton’s defeat of Bush two years later.

Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and the keeper of the famous anti-tax pledge, has long derided that deal, saying the spending cuts that were promised never materialized.

In a statement on Friday, Norquist, who has sparred with the Bush family before about the budget deal, noted that the former president himself has also called the agreement a mistake.

“The ‘compromise’ of 1990 was bad economics, bad policy, and a betrayal of the American people,” Norquist said. 

“Courage would have been standing up to the spending lobbyists in Washington and saying, ‘No.’ Doing what official Washington and its spending lobbies want is not courage. It is a failure of nerve.”

Former President John Kennedy wrote “Profiles in Courage,” a book about senators who risked their popularity, while he was in the Senate.