Jon Meacham writes in Time about the coming civil war in the Republican party. The president’s insistence on raising taxes, no matter how small an increase, is a dogma shattering and coalition destroying premise.
And so it begins. When Senator Saxby Chambliss announced last week that he no longer considered himself bound by a no-new-taxes pledge he signed two decades ago, the Georgia Republican made an important break with a GOP article of faith — an early sign that compromise could yet be possible in the coming weeks and months.
And maybe years. Endorsed by Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and by Representative Peter King of New York, the Chambliss decision — one that put him on the other side of Grover Norquist and the conservative base — is reminiscent of what began happening among Democrats in the aftermath of the 1984 Reagan landslide. Old allegiances to traditional Democratic constituencies were re-examined; the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) urged office holders and candidates to adopt centrist rhetoric and a promarket orientation….
…Republicans are overdue for their own rethinking. After the exhaustion of the first decade of the new century, it’s understandable that such self-examination has been slow in coming, but it apparently has finally come. Whether the GOP is to be pragmatic in the mold of George H.W. Bush or more ideological in the mode of his son is a live question. The Chambliss-Graham-King moment suggests the debate is very much on.
Joe Biden predicted the “Republican fever” would break after the election. We are witnessing it now. Eric Cantor appeared on Morning Joe this morning. He emphasized that revenues were absolutely on the table in the fiscal cliff negotiations. These are hugely positive signs that a deal can be made.
The Republican fever may be breaking, but the civil war for the soul of the party is coming.