A recent article in Rolling Stone argues that Reagan wound up sowing the seed of our current gridlock when he gave his blessing to Americans for Tax Reform. Headed by Grover Norquist, the group originally set out to prevent Congress from backsliding on the 1986 tax reforms.
But Norquist's instrument for enforcement – the anti-tax pledge signed by GOP lawmakers – has evolved into a barrier to moving forward on almost anything. Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson has called Americans for Tax Reform a "nefarious organization" for the mess it has made.
George H.W. Bush proved just how powerful a weapon Norquist has when he won the GOP presidential nomination in 1988 in large part because he signed the no-tax pledge and then lost his job after he moved to bring down the soaring federal deficit by raising the top tax rate.