Some Republicans are showing a willingness to raise taxes, but conservative activist Grover Norquist, who has convinced Republican candidates and policymakers to sign a pledge never to increase rates, thinks it's all a bluff.
"No one is caving," Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Sunday. "For 20 years Democrats have tried over and over to trick Republicans into breaking the pledge. It hasn't happened. This isn't my first rodeo."
Republicans are facing pressure from Democrats to reach a deal that includes increasing tax rates to avoid a slew of other tax increases and spending cuts set to begin in 2013. And some are willing to do it.
"I will violate the pledge," said South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham Sunday during an appearance on ABC's "This Week." In return, he added, Democrats must agree to overhauling federal programs like Social Security and Medicare.
Norquist said the campaign to pressure Republicans into increasing tax rates is a trap that will ultimately make it difficult for Republicans to be re-elected. In the Wall Street Journal interview, he pointed to former Republican President George H.W. Bush, who was defeated after he violated a promise not to raise taxes. "Republicans who raise taxes have a hard time explaining to anybody other than a congenital Republican why you should elect them," he said.