The Norquist Pledge, and Other Tax Debate Stuff That the Media is Over-Hyping

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 28 2012 9:43 AM

The Norquist Pledge, and Other Tax Debate Stuff That the Media is Over-Hyping

My most recent piece is an interview with Grover Norquist, who cheerfully takes the opportunity to decode all the things Republicans are telling the media to prove that they're "bailing on the tax pledge." They're not, he says.

“I’ve talked to Lindsey Graham on the phone after some of his pronouncements, and he’s said: ‘Oh, I would need 10-1 [ratio of cuts to tax hikes], and it would have to include permanent, unalterable entitlement reform.’ I said: ‘Lindsey, if that’s what it’s going to take to get you to raise taxes, I’m not going to worry about you. You are not in danger of being offered a silver unicorn, because unicorns don’t exist.’ ”

But it's easy for reporters to ask Republicans questions like "will you stick to the tax pledge?" and for Republicans to say some words that sound like compromise, and for the story to move across the wires.

Advertisement

Another thing that may not matter: The president's coming, already-controversial stump tour for a deal that restores upper-end marginal tax rate hikes. John Dickerson explains:

There is a theory—argued most effectively by Brandice Canes-Wrone, inWho Leads Whom? —that presidents cannot lead the country so much as shape public opinion. Presidents are effective only when the public is already with them. Last summer the fight was unfocused. Now the lines are clearer. Though the fiscal cliff debate touches all areas of government, the immediate debate is essentially focused on raising or lowering taxes on the wealthy. This president has won battles with Congress when the topic is narrow, as he did over the extension of the payroll tax cut and holding down student loan interest rates

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Video

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

Subtle cues from FedEx, Amazon, and others.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

A No-Brainer Approach to Fighting Poverty: Better Birth Control

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 16 2014 11:56 AM Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 12:22 PM Poverty Rate Falls for First Time Since 2006, Remains Way Too High
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 12:30 PM How Steven Moffat Made the Best Doctor Who Episode in Years
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 12:33 PM Slate Exclusive: Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.