Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss has thrown down the gauntlet to Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform group.
“I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” said Chambliss, who signed Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” when he first ran for Senate. “If we do it his way, then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.
The Georgia Republican told WMAZ that he expects his defiance of GOP anti-tax orthodoxy to earn him a primary challenger in 2014.
“But I don’t worry about that because I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist,” said Chambliss, a member of the Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of senators focused on crafting a long-term deficit reduction deal.
There was talk of primarying Chambliss even before this outburst, so the line about caring “too much about my country” to worry about a challenger is a little melodramatic.
But there are other GOP members in both Houses of Congress who harbor similar feelings about Norquist. And while they probably won’t be as vocal about their heresy as Chambliss, there may be enough Republicans willing to drink the Obama kool ade and raise taxes on those who make more than $250,000 a year to see the measure through to victory.
If the GOP is going to cave on this issue, they better get at least a good as deal that Boehner was going to get when negotiations over raising the debt ceiling brought him $10 cut for every $1 in taxes raised. That deal collapsed when Obama realized he couldn’t sell it to the Democrats in Congress — a mistake he is not going to make again.
There are going to be a very large number of awfully angry conservatives before this fiscal cliff issue is resolved.