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April 24, 2014

The Grover Norquist Brown-Noser Gift Guide

Hey, Republicans! Are you one of the heretics that has considered breaking Americans for Tax Reform’s no-new-taxes pledge? If so, you’ve already probably made a personal phone call to head honcho Grover Norquist explaining your true feelings and are bracing for a 2014 primary.

But there’s still time to make amends. In the spirit of the holiday season, HOH is providing a path to smoothing things over with the anti-tax crusader: We call it The Brown-Noser’s Gift Guide for Getting Back Into Grover’s Good Graces.


$ Budget: Kitsch

“Part of what’s interesting is watching American culture, at least the tacky parts, spreading around the world,” Norquist told HOH recently. “Dogs playing poker — that’s what we bring them.”

Norquist said one of his dreams is to have a “tacky room,” far from his wife’s decorative prerogative and chock-full of kitsch Americana from around the world. He has a poster of Janis Joplin, which he bought for a buck, framed in his office, and one of the most memorable gifts he’s received was a wall hanging of dogs playing poker that an Arizona politician lugged back from Thailand.

$$ Mid-Range: Barf Bags, Toilet Paper

Norquist started collecting airsickness bags back in the mid-1980s and never stopped. “I have maybe 100,” he said.

His pride and joy is one from Ariana Afghan Airlines, which he picked up in Pakistan. The bag has a beautiful flower sketched on it, he said, which he likes so much he had it framed.

Often when friends and associates travel to Iceland, Nepal or Morocco, they’ll ask what he would like as a souvenir.

“I’ll have them sign the airsickness bags,” he says. “I have a nice old Icelandic one … one from Air Nepal.”

Regarding toilet paper, Norquist told HOH he used to have a pretty extensive collection of Eastern European toilet paper rolls, which looked and felt like sand paper.

“Much of that is gone away,” he said a little wistfully. His wife, apparently, was not a huge fan of the collection.

“I thought she would’ve supported me,” he said. He does still “have a nice collection of nice toilet paper from fancy hotels,” including some of the most expensive hotels in the world.

“I would bring [a roll of fancy toilet paper] when I would go play with Christopher Hitchens,” Norquist says. “Instead of a bottle of wine … I think [Hitchens] just used them.”

$$$ Luxury: Weapons

Norquist has a big collection of South African whackers. “[It] is a billy club,” he told HOH. “Official ones that you can buy in stores. Like a cudgel.”

He also has a small collection of sjamboks, a zulu weapon. “It’s sort of like a little whip,” Norquist says. “You can make them out of dried leather or plastic.”

While you can probably find unique barf bags and bog rolls online, a nice whacker or sjambok could require a quick trip to Africa. But the look on Norquist’s face when you present him with the gift might just be worth it.

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