Will GOP members of Congress break their pledge not to raise taxes? On Sunday, three leading Republicans — Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain, and Rep. Peter King — said they no longer viewed the anti-tax pledge designed by activist Grover Norquist and made to their constituents to be binding on them. Their statements followed a similar one made last week  by Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

  • “I agree entirely with Saxby Chambliss,” King said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress. … The world has changed, and the economic situation is different.”
  • “I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform,” Graham said on ABC’s “This Week.”
  • McCain, meanwhile, said he wants to focus on closing so-called tax “loopholes” to raise revenue but stressed he wants no increases to the marginal tax rates. Many observers, however, note that closing loopholes will still represent an effective tax increase. “We can close a lot of loopholes,” McCain said on “Fox News Sunday,” identifying deductions on charitable donations and on mortgage interest.

Grover Norquist, the man who collected the signatures on the no-tax pledge said on CNN today that he was confident Republican lawmakers would not break a pledge not to raise taxes.

Norquist said no one who has taken the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) tax pledge has broken it. He also said some lawmakers who have talked of supporting raising taxes have said they would only do so if Democrats agreed to enormous entitlement reforms Norquist suggested they are unlikely to concede.

“No pledge taker has voted for a tax increase,” he said on CNN’s “Starting Point. “Even [Sen.] Lindsey Graham [R-S.C.] would support higher taxes ‘if.’ … He lists this incredible list of reforms and entitlements that the Democrats would never give.”

Norquist, however, insisted Monday that Graham and Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.) as well as Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) have not changed their positions on the tax pledge. He also warned his organization would “highlight” any Republican lawmaker who breaks the pledge.

Norquist did take issue with King, who said “the world has changed” since he signed the ATR pledge.

“A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress,” King told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have supported a declaration of war against Japan. I’m not going to attack Japan today.”

Norquist called that an “odd position” to justify breaking a public oath.

The real issue facing the GOP goes way beyond one tax hike or the possible breaking of a campaign promise.  What the party needs to decide is will they be the party of smaller government and freedom or simply the
not quite as liberal as the Democrats” party. That’s the real question.  I would contend that a “not quite as liberal as the Democrats” will be unsuccessful in the long run (the original is always better) a liberal GOP will eventually be consumed by a new yet-to-exist conservative-led party.