The Post reports: “The leaders of dozens of major conservative organizations joined together Thursday to jointly pen an open letter to congressional Republicans, warning them not to cave to Democratic demands to raise tax rates on the wealthy in a deal to avert the year-end “fiscal cliff” or otherwise compromise on leading conservative issues with Democrats.” To be blunt such people don’t represent the country and they don’t even represent Republicans.
As for the country as a whole the vast majority want to raise taxes and want the two sides to compromise. A NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows 70 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of independents and 59 percent of Republicans want Congress to compromise with the president. In addition, “An even larger share — more than three-quarters of Americans, including 61% of Republicans — said they would accept raising taxes on the wealthy in order to avoid a ‘fiscal cliff’ of large spending cuts and tax increases now set to take place in January.”
A Fox News poll, likewise, shows that 83 percent of voters (including 83 percent of Republicans) want a deal on the fiscal cliff. Although large majorities favor spending cuts, the most popular item (69 percent) is raising taxes on the rich. That includes 51 percent of Republicans.
So who do these activists actually represent? They represent a minority of voters in a party whose share of the electorate is declining. They represent the same segment of the Republican base that selected candidates such as Sharron Angle, advocated no deal on the debt ceiling, is opposed to immigration reform and thinks opposition to gay marriage is a winning issue. In other words, these are the folks who are in the process of driving the party into oblivion. And they might do so. They vote in primaries, they populate state and national committees, they raise money and they have loud voices. But they are about a year and a half late when it comes to putting revenue on the table, and they don’t seem to understand that Republicans cannot prevent taxes going up for everyone. (Even Sen. Jim DeMint [R-S.C.] can figure that out.)
Because a group of “leaders” can write a letter means nothing. In this case, one expects that this group is simply preparing to be “betrayed” and is using that to solicit funds and readers. Bill Kristol called a segment of the conservative movement a “racket.” I don’t know whom he had in mind, but this set in my view fits that description perfectly.