Republicans urged to call Democrats’ bluff

Press on entitlements, Norquist says

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“Nobody has actually voted for a tax increase,” he said. “Nobody has raised his hand to say, ‘I want to vote for a tax increase.’ They’ve all said, ‘I might under certain circumstances, if a pink unicorn was given to me, then I would do that.’”

Mr. Norquist was more critical of Republicans such as Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who has suggested backing a stopgap deal that would prevent taxes, at least temporarily, from increasing for families making less than $250,000 next year.

That tactic puts “marbles under Boehner’s feet” in the negotiations, Mr. Norquist said. He said Republicans should fight to extend the Bush-era tax cuts across the board — even if that means going off the fiscal cliff — in order to save the anti-tax brand they have developed over more than two decades.

Lower rates will drive more economic growth, Mr. Norquist said, and generate more federal revenue that could help pay down the soaring national debt.

“[Democrats], however, aren’t interested in more money. They are interested in Republican fingerprints on a tax increase so they can crush the modern Republican Party,” Mr. Norquist said.

The 56-year-old anti-tax crusader, who founded Americans for Tax Reform in 1985, has rejected assertions by critics and skeptics who argue that the November election results reflect a repudiation of his group and other fiscal hard-liners.

In recent days, Mr. Norquist has become a fixture on cable news shows, defending the tax pledge, the tea party movement and fiscal conservatism.

In an appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he predicted a huge midterm backlash fueled by the tea party if the solution or the failure to reach a deal on the fiscal cliff results in higher tax bills.

“Tea party 2 is going to dwarf tea party 1 if Obama pushes us off the cliff,” Mr. Norquist said.

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