President Obama should ask Romney to present the nation with a bipartisan plan to solve the deficit in the long term while promoting growth in the short term. And Romney should accept.
Romney has impressed Democrats and Republicans alike with his serious demeanor and his intellect. His success as a business leader launched his political career, and he showed in Massachusetts how a Republican can work with Democrats.
It would be unfair for Obama to ask Romney to take on the burden of crafting a bipartisan plan on his own. So Obama should also turn to the last president to balance a budget and preside over a booming economy: Bill Clinton.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) increasingly talks about finding revenue by ending so-called loopholes in the tax code. Boehner has also said he wants to lower rates by fundamentally overhauling the tax code.
As long as Republicans successfully push down tax rates, revenue generated by closing loopholes won’t constitute a pledge violation.
But there could be trouble if Republicans sign off on revenue during the lame-duck session of Congress without a rate reduction — an outcome Norquist says is unlikely.
“It would be a tax increase,” he said.
And that, Norquist says, has big consequences for lawmakers who want to stay in office.
“If you promise you weren’t going to raise taxes and you do, we want to make sure people in your district are aware both that you made the commitment and that you broke it,” he said.
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at least 55 Republican House incumbents or candidates who signed the pledge — and 24 Republican Senators or hopefuls — lost on Tuesday. Linda McMahon (R-CT), Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), Treasurer Josh Mandel (R-OH), Secretary of State Charles Summers (R-ME), former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-WI) all signed the pledge and were attacked by their Democrats opponents in face-to-face debates over the issue. All five were defeated in their Senate bids.
State Sen. Tony Strickland (R-CA), Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL), State Sen. Richard Tisei (R-MA), and Rep. Frank Guita (R-NH) were also attacked by their House race opponents in debates for signing the pledge in this campaign or in the past. All four were also defeated.
In fact, of the fifteen-plus House Republican incumbents who apparently lost re-election, every single one had signed Norquist’s pledge.
Norquist’s group spent more than $15 million on independent expenditures. This included hundreds of thousands on ads explicitly defending candidates like Ricky Gill (R-CA) and State Rep. Lee Anderson (R-GA) against criticisms over their having signed the pledge. Both lost.