Via Tom Lee, I see that American for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist denied endorsing Lenin's tactics during an exchange with historian Rick Pearlstein on Diane Rehm's NPR show today (starts at 48:17 in the Real Audio or Windows Media clips):
PEARLSTEIN: Of course Grover Norquist wants to get rid of Social Security and Medicare. It's his life's work.
NORQUIST: No, I don't. Don't tell me my position, sir. I've written a book on the subject.
PEARLSTEIN: You said that you're a Leninist and these things are thirty-year projects. These things are on the record.
NORQUIST: We're not name-calling and I'm a Leninist? Hey, wait a minute, grow up. I'm not a Leninist. I'm an American, thank you. I fought Leninists all my life. And we crushed the Soviet Union, thank you.
PEARLSTEIN: Have you ever said you had Lenin as a hero?
PEARLSTEIN: He's lying.
I'm not sure if Norquist ever specifically described Lenin as a hero, but as I pointed out back in 2005, he reportedly had a portrait of Lenin in his house and frequently quoted Lenin's saying "Probe with bayonets, looking for weaknesses."
Similarly, when describing his movement-building plans to the New Yorker, Norquist used language referencing a Communist-style revolution:
[Norquist] talked about how to build a broad coalition. "If you want the votes of people who are good on guns, good on taxes, and good on faith issues, that is a very small intersection of voters," he said. "But if you say, Give me the votes of anybody who agrees with you on any of these issues, that's a much bigger section of the population." To illustrate what he meant, Norquist drew three intersecting circles over a piece of paper. In the first one he wrote "guns," in the second he wrote "taxes," in the third he wrote "faith." There was a small area where the circles intersected. "With that group, you can take over the country, starting with the airports and the radio stations," he said. "But with all of the three circles that's sixty percent of the population, and you can win politically."
What's interesting is that Norquist has previously endorsed the comparison. In 2001, a Washington Times column by the Heritage Foundation's Alvin Felzenberg stated that "Norquist took it as a compliment when Mr. [E.J.] Dionne called him the 'Lenin' of the right":
Their celebratory writings about the advance of 20th century liberalism from Wilson to Roosevelt to Truman to Johnson are just as ideologically laden as the utterings of Mr. Norquist and his compatriots. Conservative columnists have yet, though, to depict them - or those who put FDR on the dime and JFK on the half-dollar - as liberalism's "Lenins." (Mr. Norquist took it as a compliment when Mr. Dionne called him the "Lenin" of the right.)
Update 2/10 10:30 AM: Per the comments below, let me make clear that the point of this post is that Norquist frequently referenced Lenin's tactics, not that he himself is a Communist (obviously not). Similarly, the New Yorker quote above about "airports and radio stations" was provided as an example of a reference to Communist-style tactics. Again, he wasn't proposing a Communist revolution. I have updated the language of the post and the title to try to make these points more clear.