(photo: Gage Skidmore)

When you have the kind of power Grover Norquist has held — namely, decades of unquestioned dictatorial control over the Republican Party as its grand ayatollah of anti-tax orthodoxy — it’s easy for a wee bit of hubris to creep into your thinking.

The result is the occasional burst of excessive honesty, as exemplified by Norquist’s infamous statement that he’d like to shrink government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub” (which came back to haunt him after hurricane Katrina a few years ago).

Apparently, our friend Grover has had another one of those moments.  This is from an interview with Nancy Cook of the National Journal, posted yesterday afternoon:

NJ At the end of 2012, a number of major tax provisions, including the Bush-era cuts, are set to expire. Do you have any predictions?

NORQUIST [...] If the Republicans have the House, Senate, and the presidency, I’m told that they could do an early budget vote—a reconciliation vote where you extend the Bush tax cuts out for a decade or five years. You take all of those issues off the table, and then say, “What do you want to do for tax reform?” … And, if you have a Republican president to go with a Republican House and Senate, then they pass the [Paul] Ryan plan [on Medicare].

NJ What if the Democrats still have control? What’s your scenario then?

NORQUIST Obama can sit there and let all the tax [cuts] lapse, and then the Republicans will have enough votes in the Senate in 2014 to impeach.

Now, to be fair, this claim relies on the nearly delusional fantasy that ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans will cause an intense popular backlash in favor of the Republicans, resulting in 67 GOP senators after the next midterms.  But it’s also a reminder of what these guys consider an impeachable offense — and how far they’re willing to take their desire to protect the rich.  They play for keeps.