Some GOP lawmakers now flout anti-tax man Norquist

Associated Press Modified: November 27, 2012 at 2:00 am •  Published: November 27, 2012

House Speaker John Boehner has called that notion unrealistic and has dismissed Norquist as "some random person."

Nevertheless, Norquist has maintained a certain level of clout for years.

Heading into the 2012 elections, 279 lawmakers had signed Norquist's' pledge, according to Americans for Tax Reform.

But some who have signed the pledge are having second thoughts. And when the new House is seated next year, no more than 212 of them consider themselves bound by the promise.

"I'm not obligated on the pledge," Corker told CBS News. "I was just elected. The only thing I'm honoring is the oath I take when I serve when I'm sworn in this January."

He's not alone in his stance on the pledge.

"When I go to the constituents that have re-elected me, it is not about that pledge," Cantor said on MSNBC. "It really is about trying to solve problems."

Chambliss, a veteran senator from Georgia, said he signed the pledge during an earlier campaign when the country's debt was nowhere near its current $16 trillion level.

"Times have changed significantly, and I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge," Chambliss told his local television station. "If we do it (Norquist's) way, then we'll continue in debt."

"I'm frankly not concerned about the Norquist pledge," Chambliss added.

Raising taxes, whether by closing loopholes or raising tax rates, is seldom a vote-winning strategy.

President George H.W. Bush broke his campaign promise to not raise taxes; he ended up losing re-election in 1992.

Other Republicans, however, are now willing to put additional tax revenues on the table as a bargaining chip for a deal with Democrats to get changes in Social Security and Medicare and pare down federal deficits.

"I agree with Grover, we shouldn't raise rates. But I think Grover is wrong when it comes to we can't cap deductions and buy down debt," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

"I will violate the pledge — long story short — for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform," he added.

Rep. Peter King of New York told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the pledge is good for a two-year term only.

"A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress," King said. "For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed a support of declaration of war against Japan. I'm not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed, and the economic situation is different."

Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, said the pledge is losing its clout.

"Fewer and fewer people are signing this, quote, pledge," he told an audience recently.