The fiscal cliff talks have turned into a political Mexican standoff with all players on stage with their proverbial guns drawn. It doesn't seem that any side is willing to put down their guns; but, it seems that there are some guns shaky on the side of the GOP. You have Democratic US President Barack Obama at odds with GOP House Speaker John Boehner in regards to fiscal cliff negotiations. On the same note, you have members of the GOP at odds with Grover Norquist. At the same time, you have the usual Democrats versus the Republicans in Congress. However, the biggest battle seems to be within the GOP, especially with those saying that they are willing to violate the Norquist's anti-tax pledge if Democrats meet them halfway.
The dissent within the GOP party started off with Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss. Chambliss said that he would be willing to break the anti-tax pledge. Other people started saying the same thing such as GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, GOP Representative Peter King of New York, and so forth. However, Norquist isn't caving in; instead, he's standing firm saying that these people are having “impure thoughts” and that the pledge will still stand. Furthermore, Norquist has even threatened to make sure anybody that breaks the pledge will be unseated in future elections.
First, it was King that started hitting back at Norquist. Now, Saxby is starting to hit back
against Norquist's recent attacks. Originally reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Saxby said that he doesn't want Washington to decide how he votes on things. Plus, he said that his duty is to his constituents.
He did make note about the ethanol tax credit
Saxby's actions could affect him in 2014
. That is because there are the 2014 US Senate and US House Elections. Saxby is running for re-election in 2014. Now, Saxby is finding himself faced with people that are planning to challenge him in the primaries. A Washington Post blog gives reasons that Saxby is very vulnerable. Such reasons include: challengers with a very conservative record, Chambliss having a tone problem, etc.
According to the Tea Party Express, in the blog entry, they aren't focused on Chambliss. Sal Russo, who founded the organization, said there's a line between violating the pledge and voting for detrimental policies.
Last week, GOP Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma urged the party to come up with a quick deal
. He said to extend the Bush tax rates first and then continue fighting over it later. Furthermore, Cole said that doing so wouldn't break Norquist's pledge. A few days later, Cole said that President Obama's proposal was “laughable
.” Cole criticized Obama's plan with having no restraints on spending, very little entitlement reform, etc.
Other Republicans are weighing in. Recently, GOP Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska gave his thoughts. He said that the GOP has no leverage
. Terry, on CNN, said that many feel that Obama's real plan is to set the Republicans up for blame if they go over the fiscal cliff. In regards to the debt ceiling, Terry said that's the only leverage the GOP has.
Yesterday, in his weekly address
, Obama said that it was unacceptable for some members of the GOP to hold the middle class hostage.
In response, the GOP fired back. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah delivered the party's weekly address in response to Obama's words. In the address, Hatch said that Obama's proposal was a “bait and switch.”
Timothy Geithner, the US Secretary of the Treasury, said that an agreement won't be reached without rates going up
. The Reuters article reported that the polls show that most Americans are gravitating towards the idea of raising taxes on the wealthy.