Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Republicans and the Tax Pledge

At the Wall Street Journal, "Grover Norquist is not the problem in Washington":
One of the more amazing post-election spectacles is the media celebration of Republicans who say they're willing to repudiate their pledge against raising taxes. So the same folks who like to denounce politicians because they can't be trusted are now praising politicians who openly admit they can't be trusted.

The spectacle is part of what is becoming a tripartisan—Democrats, media, some Republicans—attempt to stigmatize Grover Norquist as the source of all Beltway fiscal woes and gridlock. Mr. Norquist, who runs an outfit called Americans for Tax Reform, is the fellow who came up with the no-new-taxes pledge some 20 years ago. He tries to get politicians to sign it, and hundreds of Republicans have done so. He does not hold a gun to their heads.

Grover's—everyone calls him Grover—apparent crime against Washington is that he now actually wants to hold politicians to what they willingly signed. If enough Republicans will disavow their tax pledge, then the capital crowd can go about agreeing to a grand fiscal bargain that raises taxes, pretends to cut spending and avoids the January 1 fiscal crack-up that the politicians have set us up for. Voters are supposed to believe that only Grover stands in the way of this happy ever-after.

Thus we have the sight of powerful Senators like Saxby Chambliss and Lindsey Graham and New York Congressman Peter King patting themselves on the back for having the courage to stand up to a guy who has never held public office. On Monday no less than billionaire Warren Buffett, who can get the President on the phone at will, attacked Mr. Norquist. Who knew one unelected fellow had so much power?

I've got more on Norquist scheduled for today, but don't miss R.S. McCain's essay on this, which I think is rock solid.