Bob Corker and the Illusion of Momentum

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 10 2012 11:07 AM

Bob Corker and the Illusion of Momentum

Did you hear? Did you? Sen. Bob Corker, the recently re-elected wordsmith from Tennessee, has broken out of his cage!

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

"The best place for Republicans to be is to pass the rate increases, be done with it and then we're still focused on the right thing, which is entitlement changes," he said in an interview on "Squawk on the Street."
Over the weekend, Corker and a handful of other Republicans including Sen. Tom Coburn and Rep. Tom Cole, both from Oklahoma, signaled a willingness to let taxes rise.
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But is this new? Here's Corker, two weeks ago:

“I’m not obligated on the pledge,” Corker told Charlie Rose of CBS News, responding to a question about growing disenchantment among Republicans who had previously stood in agreement with Norquist's strict "no new taxes" pledge. “I was just elected. The only thing I’m honoring is the oath I take when I serve when I’m sworn in this January.”

Corker, four weeks ago:

We know there has to be “revenues”. And, I think, I haven’t met a wealthy Republican or Democrat in Tennessee that is not willing to contribute more as long as they know we solve the problem.

When I carp about Meet the Pressistan, this is what I'm talking about -- a mobius strip conversation among the same handful of people, giving the illusion that a broader conversation must also be moving the same way. For two weeks, Tom Cole has been on the record for raising the top rate. Tom Coburn has been talking this way for two years. When will somebody sit down the Sunday show bookers and tell them that the votes of reluctant House members, very vulnerable to primaries, matter more than whatever a compromise-friendly Republican senator is re-re-re-re-stating?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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