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Grover Norquist went to Burning Man. And wrote about it.

Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, during our interview with him at his office on July, 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Grover Norquist founded a group that has tried to get conservative lawmakers to swear off tax increases for good. But he also went to Burning Man.

According to Urban Dictionary, the Nevada-hosted festival Burning Man "is society's officially sanctioned counter-cultural movement. And as this movement, it has no forward momentum. It is a party in the desert. That's basically it."

Grover Norquist loved this party in the desert. He wrote about his experience on the Guardian Web site on Tuesday, in a column titled, "My first Burning Man: confessions of a conservative from Washington."

Here are five things that Grover Norquist has actually written about Burning Man, which have been cached for posterity.

1. "Burning Man is greater than I had ever imagined."

2. "I have been to the Louvre. It is a very big place with many nice paintings. I knew that. I was not disappointed. Burning Man is more like Petra, the lost city in Jordan, which I found more impressive than its advance billing or reputation."

3. "My wife and I had planned to join the “event” in 2012, but some idiot scheduled the Republican National Convention in Tampa for the same week. I objected, but the overlapping bit of the Venn diagram of Burners and Mitt Romney enthusiasts was perhaps not as large as I had thought."

(In 2004, the Republican National Convention also had a scheduling conflict with Burning Man. Some people decided to attend part of both).

4. "Some self-professed 'progressives' whined at the thought of my attending what they believed was a ghetto for liberal hippies. Yes, there was a gentleman who skateboarded without elbow or kneepads – or any knickers whatsoever. Yes, I rode in cars dressed-up as cats, bees and spiders; I watched trucks carrying pirate ships and 30 dancers. I drank absinthe."

5. "I want to attend a national political convention that advocates the wisdom of Burning Man."

Someone let Grover Norquist plan the 2016 Republican National Convention. There is already a libertarian version of Burning Man. We're so close.

This definitely doesn't mark the first time Burning Man and politics have acknowledged each other. They kind of have to -- the festival takes place on federal land. In late July, Norquist told National Journal that his political work and Burning Man have a lot in common. "Burning Man was founded in '86, the same year as the Pledge, and the first Burning Man had 20 people at it, and our first Center-Right Meeting—the Wednesday Meeting—also had 20 people. So I think there's a real kinship there. These are very similar operations, except we tend to wear more clothes perhaps at the Wednesday Meetings."

However, Burning Man's organizers will not be happy with you if you call their fun a political movement.

If you would like another perspective on Norquist's Burning Man experience, New York Magazine reporter Kevin Roose tagged along with him.


Jaime Fuller reports on national politics for "The Fix" and Post Politics. She worked previously as an associate editor at the American Prospect, a political magazine based in Washington, D.C.



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Jaime Fuller · September 2, 2014

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