Until he gives a firm yes or no, this is what Athens Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Broun’s life is going to be like: The first question at a Capitol Hill news conference this afternoon — from National Review’s Robert Costa, who is basically on the Georgia beat these days — was to Broun, asking if he would run a primary against U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss if Chambliss votes to raise taxes in a fiscal cliff deal.
“This is not about a race in 2014. This is about the next two weeks. This is about the petitions that are signed here,” said Broun, gesturing toward 160,000 artfully stacked petitions asking lawmakers not to break the no-new-taxes pledge. “I will not cave in. I am going to vote against raising taxes on anyone. Period. So not looking forward to any particular race. This is all about just what makes sense financially for your children and your grandchildren’s future.”
This of course is a more definitive statement than the one you will get from Chambliss on the subject of Grover Norquist’s ballyhooed pledge. One notable aspect of the news conference hosted by TheTeaParty.net, which gathered the signatures, was how few Republicans wanted to get in front of television cameras to proclaim that they would never raise taxes. Aside from Broun, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, John Fleming of Louisiana and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas were the only ones there.
Many more will vote against any deal that includes a penny of extra tax revenue, but only this handful of the sharpest thorns in House Speaker John Boehner’s side attended. I asked Gohmert whether he thought his conference was cracking under the pressure of President Barack Obama’s stance on tax rates and the Jan. 1 deadline for rates going up on all tax brackets.
“I don’t think people are cracking any more than what you have already heard,” Gohmert said. “There are some that have said we maybe would be open to [tax increases], but let’s get realistic: The problem is spending, and even those who have said they would entertain it would have to see a tremendous amount of less spending and those of us here plus many others feel we’re not going to get there by raising taxes a little bit and continuing to spend a lot.”
- By Daniel Malloy, Political Insider