As we drift out of the haze of stuffed turkey and pumpkin pies and look forward to Christmas Day—we are reminded that we could, in fact, see what’s just below the so-called fiscal cliff, in a mere 36 days.
And in the spirit of the holidays (or a midterm election), it may seem that certain members of the GOP are showing more willingness to work with President Obama and Democrats to make a deal.
This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-VA) said, “There has been a lot that has been said about this pledge and I will tell you when I go to the constituents that have re-elected me it is not about that pledge it is really about trying to solve problems.”
The pledge Cantor refers to, of course, is the Taxpayer Protection Pledge by Grover Norquist—binding several hundred Republican lawmakers to never, ever increase tax rates.
And over the weekend, a line of Republicans vowed to courageously cast aside Norquist.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on ABC News’ This Week: “I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform.”
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) on WMAZ: “You know, that pledge I signed 20 years ago, it was valid then. It’s valid now. But times have changed significantly and I care more about this country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.”
John McCain (R-AZ) on Fox News Sunday: “I would be very much opposed to raising tax rates. But I do believe we can close a lot of loop holes.”
But are these Republicans really signaling a break in the GOP rank and file? A reasonable, balanced approach to cut the deficit, which would include some kind of revenue raising option?
Not quite. What we have here appears to be yet another distraction. Not one explicit mention of a willingness to allow the Bush Tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest 2%. Grover Norquist, his tiny heart, and pledge are being sent to hide in the deep recesses of Mount Crumpit, while these so called reasonable Republicans dust off the old “close loopholes” and “cap deductions” we heard again and again from the losing Mitt Romney Campaign (circa three weeks ago).
Yes, thus far, congressional Republicans’ big concession is to embrace the tax plan of the losing presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Even as a new CNN/ ORC poll shows a majority of Americans support a balanced approach. Two-thirds say that any agreement should include a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, with just under one in three saying a deal should only include spending cuts.
Speaking of Mitt: We got a glimpse of old Willard this holiday, with a Facebook photo and a brief message: “Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Much to be thankful for this year.”
Indeed, he must be grateful he doesn’t have to try and sell his own tax plan to a dubious nation.