Republicans Are Split Over How to Catch up to the 21st Century (But Both Sides Have it All Wrong)
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It's not clear what has led her to think that congressional Republicans would have any interest in doing this. Indeed, very recent history would suggest that Republicans aren't at all eager to take up this advice. Look no further than the ridiculous storm and stress over the fiscal cliff, most of which stemmed from a constitutional unwillingness on the part of the House GOP to raise taxes one red cent on the wealthy. When John Boehner proposed his "Plan B" bill to raise tax rates on millionaires, it failed because he couldn't generate enough support from within his own caucus. After the Senate passed the compromise bill raising rates on household incomes exceeding $450,000, it passed the House with only one-third of Republicans voting in favor.
This is the party Noonan thinks would pale at being seen as "lackeys of the rich?" (To be sure, her grasp of the fiscal cliff wrangling hasn't been all that strong.)
But let's assume the improbable and stipulate that Republicans take Noonan's advice and once again bump up taxes on the rich -- what happens then? Well, if we look to recent history again, utter bedlam within the rank-and-file. Last month a group of influential conservative activists wrote an open letter to congressional Republicans exhorting them not to compromise one iota with the Democrats, and threatening that primary challenges await those that do. In that time the Senate GOP did indeed hammer out a compromise on the fiscal cliff with the White House, and now Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is under fire from conservatives over "his capitulation to President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden."
This divide between DeMint and Noonan neatly sums up the quandary conservatives and Republicans find themselves in the moment: they can hold fast to their increasingly unpopular policies and try and message their way back into power, or they can enact policy change and alienate the base. Neither is a particularly appealing choice.