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Insiders Weigh In on No-Tax Pledge, Fiscal Cliff Insiders Weigh In on No-Tax Pledge, Fiscal Cliff

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Insiders Weigh In on No-Tax Pledge, Fiscal Cliff

Is the GOP’s no-tax pledge politically harmful to the party?


Very harmful: 57%
Somewhat harmful: 38%
Not harmful: 5%


Very harmful

“There weren’t a lot of mandates in this election, but problem solving was one of them—they now have room to honor that mandate without completely offending their base voters.”

“It reinforces the mindless rigidity of the party, which borders on irrational.”


“How can they possibly not see the inanity of their position on no increases for the extremely wealthy?”

“While it plays well with 30 percent of the country, it tells the other 70 percent that the GOP is not serious about shared sacrifice to address the deficit and debt.”

“Where the Republicans were perceived as dogmatic and rigid, they got slaughtered. This is issue numero uno on the dogma scale.”

“The new giant sucking sound in Washington is GOP representatives abandoning Grover Norquist.”


“It is not possible to be faithful to the pledge and reduce the deficit and pay down the debt.”

Somewhat harmful

“It’s not tenable in the current fiscal climate. The longer they look like they’re protecting Richie Rich’s piggy bank, the worse it will get for them.”

“In the long run, it is harmful toward creating a governing majority, but in the short run, it did help them keep the House (in gerrymandered districts).”

“Blindly rejecting everything as a legislative strategy is so 2010.”

“It didn’t work out so well for George H.W. Bush, and that was pre-tea party.”

Not harmful

“It’s bad policy to oppose taxes, but it’s like saying that you’re opposed to chest colds.”



Is the GOP’s no-tax pledge politically harmful to the party?


Very harmful: 10%
Somewhat harmful: 39%
Not harmful: 51%

Very harmful

“The hard-liners fail to recognize the extreme complexity of the tax code and that a no-tax pledge will destroy our chances to get fundamental reform.”

“We can’t begin to address the serious problems this country has by being totally rigid on tax policy or any other policy for that matter.”

Somewhat harmful

“It’s too broad and constrains the party’s political dexterity.”

“This depends entirely on how the GOP is positioned. If it is defending the rich, then we are dead.”

“We can no longer just be the party of ‘no,’ whether it’s on immigration reform or digging out of the fiscal hole we’re in.”

“Losing the antitax high ground would destroy a major political advantage—we’ll never win a Halloween-style goodie handout contest, so we have to have something to offer voters.”

Not harmful

“As [Speaker John] Boehner keeps saying but Obama doesn’t seem to understand or just doesn’t want to, raising taxes on small-business job creators in this sluggish economy is not smart. It’s dumb.”

“Know what’s politically harmful? Breaking the pledge. Ask Bush 41.”

“If Republicans cave on taxes, then what do we become? The party opposed to abortion? Taxes and spending have always been the bed­rock of the GOP—caving on taxes could put us in the minority for generations.”

“Every time Democrats snooker Republicans into raising taxes, the results have been disastrous. Bush 41 admitted it was a mistake. California Gov. Pete Wilson admitted it was a mistake. How many times does Lucy have to pull the football back before we learn?”

“Good grief. What are we for if not limited government?”

“Any Republican who surrenders on this issue should turn in his badge.”



Broadly speaking, should your party agree to a major compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff?


Yes: 69%
No: 31%


“Hell, yes. Election is over—act like adults and prevent another market crash and recession.”

“This is not the time for chest thumping on either side.”

“Voters want collaboration and compromise. See, e.g., the governor of New Jersey and the president of the United States putting aside their disagreements on the issues to work together to help make government work for people in need.”

“Not doing so will be the first step toward another careening of the electorate in 2014.”

“Yes. As long as it’s perceived as mutual, my party needs to be part of the solution.”

This article appears in the November 17, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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