Some of us who have been around conservative politics for a while remember the smirk on Democratic Sen. George Mitchell’s face when he conned Republican President George H.W. Bush into abandoning his “read my lips” promise to oppose new taxes.
The Democrats and big-spending Washington insiders are beginning to smirk again as the supercommittee charged with reducing the deficit continues its secret negotiations.
They are smirking because every establishment media news story and editorial calling for a tax increase and a “compromise” on the deficit brings them one step closer to destroying the Republican brand and driving a wedge into the practically unbeatable coalition of tea partyers and Republicans that brought Republicans back into the majority in the House and is poised to hand them control of the Senate.
It is a given that the Democrats will push for higher taxes, but the real measure of the success or failure of the supercommittee isn’t what the Democrats propose; it is what the Republicans ultimately agree to.
As supercommittee Co-Chairman and House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas noted, “What’s interesting is even if you gave the president every single nickel of tax increases on small businesses and American families that he is demanding, that’s about $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years . . . That’s roughly 10 percent of our existing national debt.”
Hensarling, better than most GOP leaders, understands the cost of government isn’t what it taxes; it is what it spends. No conservative or tea partyer believes federal spending can’t be cut substantially.
All of the Republicans on the supercommittee know the Democrats aren’t trying to reduce the debt; the Democrat’s goal is to institutionalize the vast growth in spending that has occurred under President Barack Obama.
The ultimate test for Capitol Hill Republicans is whether or not they stand fast against Democrat demands for tax increases. If supercommittee Republicans cave into establishment pressure to raise taxes they will break the tea party/Republican coalition forever.
But if Republicans protect their brand by standing fast against tax increases and avoid being suckered — as both Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 were — into trading a tax increase for spending cuts that the Democrats never intend to produce, they will all but guarantee a big victory in the 2012 election.
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