Most Republican 2012ers Back the Tax Deal

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 14 2010 11:06 AM

Most Republican 2012ers Back the Tax Deal

Like I wrote in my piece on yesterday's tax vote , the failure of liberal and conservative groups to push their legislators to vote against it was really extraordinary. After slow-to-activate opposition campaign from* the Club for Growth, and Tea Party Patriots, only nine Republicans voted for cloture to start debate on the deal, and none of these senators -- so far -- have said they will oppose it on the final vote.

Among the 31 Republicans who voted for cloture: John Thune, the senator from South Dakota who's looked at by the Mentioning Class as a 2012 hopeful. What have the other leading potential 2012 candidates said about the deal?

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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Sarah Palin: Con, in (what else?) a retweet of a comment from Jedediah Bila.

Thank you, @ JimDeMint – DeMint comes out against tax deal , says GOP must do 'better than this.'

Mitt Romney: Con, in his op-ed for USA Today .

While we cannot rebuild our flawed system overnight, we are surely not required to borrow the funds to pay for it. In spending $56.5 billion to extend benefits, the deal is sacrificing the bedrock Republican principle that new expenditures be paid for with offsetting budget cuts.

President Obama has reason to celebrate. The deal delivers short-term economic stimulus, and it does so at the very time he wants it most, before the 2012 elections. But the long term health of our great engine of prosperity will remain very much in doubt. To the twin inevitabilities of death and taxes, we may now have to add persistent high unemployment.

Mike Huckabee: Pro, in his interview with National Journal .

I think it's the best anyone can hope for at this point. Obviously, it's a much better deal than letting there be complete limbo about the tax rates. It's good news for those who were wondering what the tax code was actually going to be. I wish it had been longer than two years... But it does allow people to forecast for the next couple of years, and it'll make a big difference in people making some decisions about expansion and hiring. It means more money in the hands of the private sector and less in the hands of government. So those are all very, very good things.

Mike Pence: Undecided, according to his interview with Sean Hannity.

I haven’t made a final decision, but I’m not impressed.

Newt Gingrich: Pro, via Twitter .

The agreement to extend the tax code without an increase for two years is a great victory for american people and gop leadership . New tax agreement is first good news for economy and may signal beginning of a republican recovery because voters insisted on change.

I certainly want to support the tax extension... they may put enough stuff in there to make me reconsider, but right now I would not want to participate in raising taxes on people.

Tim Pawlenty, Pro, in an interview last week with Neil Cavuto.

PAWLENTY: There`s two principles that we have to enforce and enforce like I have done in Minnesota, drawing a line in the Sanders. One is we simply cannot raise taxes in this economy. But, number two, on the other spending side, we can`t do anything anymore, Neil, that is going to worsen the debt and we have to start making progress on the debt. And on that second criteria, this bill doesn`t pass that test.

CAVUTO : So, you wouldn`t support it?

PAWLENTY : No, I would support it because of the tax extensions, but, again, each side got what they want. And those tax extensions are really important.

Mitch Daniels, Gary Johnson, and Haley Barbour have not yet commented on the deal. This means that of the eleven Republicans currently considering presidential bids:

- Two oppose the deal.

- Five support the deal.

- Four are undecided.

That's a preponderance of support from the people who want to replace Barack Obama. It's almost as if they relish having a fight about taxes in 2012.

*I originally wrote that ATR opposed it, but they have cleared this up with a statement : The group is for it.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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