But the next elections are way more than a year away, so the Norquist hold is starting to slip. Several prominent Republican senators — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Georgia’s Saxby Chambliss, to name a few — are insisting, as Corker put it on CBS, “the only thing I’m honoring is the oath I take when I serve, when I’m sworn in this January.”
On CNN, Norquist called such sentiments “impure thoughts.” He takes the public position that those who ponder straying off the reservation will realize the error of their ways. He’s been around this town since the Reagan years, and these threats of wandering, he says, have happened before.
However, someone as experienced as he is surely understands one of the cardinal rules of politics, which is that promises are made to be broken. That is as bipartisan as anything gets these days, so if some of those who are talking cop-out actually mean what they say, Norquist might have to find some way to save face or come up with a different shtick.
It is way too early to believe that will happen. Many of the same ultra-wealthy do-badders who spent billions of dollars trying to buy the White House and Congress haven’t been deterred by their singular lack of success. Now they’re pouring more money into sabotaging any agreement that might mean they have to pay higher taxes.
To be fair, the unions and others on the left also are financing TVads, and to be fair, some of our richest citizens are actually speaking out for a bargain that would mean they’d have to pay more to the Internal Revenue Service.
The result is that we all are being assaulted with advocacy commercials on television again, and the news is still filled with commentators shouting mindlessly at each other. It’s just another way the United States is unique. Other countries have very short campaign cycles. Ours never ends.
© 2012 Bob Franken Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.