President Obama has had some real success in recent months painting the Republican Party as willing to go to any lengths to protect tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans — largely because the GOP has lived up to the reputation. And while there is a broad political consensus about keeping tax rates relatively low for the middle class, only Republicans have rushed en masse to sign no-tax-hike pledges from anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, putting them on the wrong side of public opinion when Democrats push to let Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy expire. Some Republicans, reeling from their electoral losses, have decided they must reverse course. Here, five of these "fair-weather tax haters" (as U.S. News' Rick Newman playfully calls them):
1. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
"We've got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything. We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys."
Politico, Nov. 13
2. Rep.-elect Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), on why he won't sign Norquist's pledge
"I don't want to sign a pledge that's going to tie my hands. I need free rein to do what I think is right for the people in my district and the country."
The Hill, Nov. 13
3. Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol
"It won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires. It really won't, I don't think. I don't really understand why Republicans don't take Obama's offer to freeze taxes for everyone below $250,000. Make it $500,000, make it a million..... Really? The Republican Party is going to fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic and half of whom live in Hollywood and are hostile?"
Fox News Sunday, Nov. 11
4. Matthew Dowd, a George W. Bush strategist, in response to Kristol
"Finally a little sanity and sense of need for shared sacrifice."
Twitter, Nov. 11
5. New York Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat
"What the party really needs, much more than a better identity-politics pitch, is an economic message that would appeal across demographic lines — reaching both downscale white voters turned off by Romney's Bain Capital background and upwardly mobile Latino voters who don't relate to the current G.O.P. fixation on upper-bracket tax cuts.... The bad news is that unlike a pander on immigration, a new economic agenda probably wouldn't be favorably received by the party's big donors, who tend to be quite happy with the Republican Party's current positioning. But after spending billions of those donors' dollars with nothing to show for it, perhaps Republicans should seek a different path: one in which they raise a little less money but win a few more votes."
The New York Times, Nov. 10