Should they now dishonor that pledge, what would differentiate them from George H.W. Bush, who famously promised in 1988: "Read my lips! No new taxes!" then went back on his word and took the party down to defeat with him?
Second, the GOP is the party of small government and low taxes.
Why would it agree to raise taxes on the private productive sector when federal spending, now at a peacetime record of 25 percent of GDP, is the problem?
Third, America is in a slump, with 9 percent of the workforce unemployed, another 7 percent underemployed and the economy growing at a tepid 1.8 percent.
What school of economic thought -- Keynesian, supply-side or monetarist -- says raising taxes in a slumping economy is the recipe for a return to prosperity? There is no such school.
Why, when the whole country is talking about the need to create jobs, would Congress raise taxes on a private productive sector that employs six in seven Americans and is the creator of real jobs?
In 1982, President Reagan agreed to the same deal being offered the party today: three dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in tax increases to which he assented. As he ruefully told this writer more than once, he was lied to. He got one dollar in spending cuts for every three in tax increases.
What of the charge that the Republican House is holding America hostage, blackmailing the nation with a suicidal threat to throw us all into national default if it does not get its way?
This smear is the precise opposite of the truth.
The Republican Party has not said it will refuse to raise the debt ceiling. It has an obligation to do so, and will.
The House has simply said it will not accept new taxes on a nation whose fiscal crisis comes from overspending.
If the GOP keeps its word, raises the debt ceiling and accepts budget cuts agreed to in the Biden negotiations, the only people who can prevent the debt ceiling's being raised are Senate Democrats or Obama, in which case, they, not the GOP, will have thrown the nation into default.
It is the establishment that is resorting to extortion, saying, in effect, to the House GOP: Give us the new taxes we demand, or Obama will veto the debt ceiling and we will all blame you for the default.
The GOP should stand its ground -- and fix bayonets.