As early as the sixth grade, Norquist, now 47, remembers arguing with classmates over the Vietnam War. “Suzy somebody thought Nixon was a fascist and [Alger] Hiss was a good guy,” he says. Thanks to a fire sale at his local public library in Weston, Massachusetts, he picked up several books by J. Edgar Hoover and Whittaker Chambers on the communist threat. At 12, he was volunteering for Richard Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign. After church, his father would buy him and his three younger siblings ice-cream cones and then steal bites, announcing with each chomp, “Oops, income tax. Oops, sales tax.”
Get the Longreads Weekly Email
Success! You're on the list.
Whoops! There was an error and we couldn't process your subscription. Please reload the page and try again.