Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Following up on yesterday's post, Grover Norquist and the Fiscal Cliff: Wall Street Journal editorial, Republicans and the Tax Pledge:
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. ...
If Republicans in Congress want to repudiate the pledge, they are
free to do so at any time. They could even quote Edmund Burke's line
that a democratic representative owes his electors his best judgment,
not a slavish fealty to majority opinion. But that would mean saying
they didn't mean it when they signed the pledge. So they are now busy
pretending that Mr. Norquist is a modern Merlin who conned them into
signing the pledge and must be eliminated before they can do the "right
thing" and raise taxes.
The fact is that Republicans and Mr. Norquist both face a new political reality on taxes. ... The one thing Republicans shouldn't do is join the media and Democratic
chorus that Mr. Norquist and his pledge are the root of our political
and economic woes. The real problems are a political class that won't
control its spending and economic policies that are retarding growth.
That's where the GOP should keep its public focus. ...
Republican voters know that elections have consequences and that Mitt
Romney's defeat means there will be policy defeats too. But they will
give the House and Senate GOP credit if it fights for its principles and
drives a hard bargain. The voters are also smart enough to know that
Republicans who focus on Mr. Norquist are part of the problem.