Grover Blinks, the Club for Growth Rages

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 19 2012 12:31 PM

Grover Blinks, the Club for Growth Rages

It seems like only weeks ago that the pronouncements of Grover Norquist, and his tax pledge, were the only things keeping Republicans away from a fiscal cliff deal. It was a perfect little story -- one man could liberate the Republicans to reveal their inner tax-hikers.

He liberated them today. Sort of. Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform has declared that a vote for "Plan B," John Boehner's "aw, the hell with it" solution to our current crisis, would not violate the tax pledge.

This legislation—popularly known as “Plan B”--permanently prevents a tax increase on families making less than $1 million per year.  Republicans supporting this bill are this week affirming to their constituents in writing that this bill—the sole purpose of which is to prevent tax increases—is consistent with the pledge they made to them.  In ATR’s analysis, it is extremely difficult—if not impossible—to fault these Republicans’ assertion.

The statement is a marvel. ATR claims that Republicans are absolved from the shame of a tax hike because they've voted for every other permanent cut they could. And the punchline: No one else on the right is absolving Republicans. The Club for Growth, which unlike ATR actually intervenes big to beat RINOs in primaries, has sent Republicans this statement:

On the substance, this bill is anti-growth. It increases tax rates for those making over $1 million while also raising taxes on capital gains and dividends. We don't buy into the Washington-speak, suggesting that these are actually tax cuts.

Nothing changes.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.