Rich Galen
Much was made over the weekend about cracks in Grover Norquist's "No Tax Pledge" dam by Rep. Peter King and Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

Before we go on, we all know there IS such a thing as the "No Tax Pledge," but until last night as I was writing this, I had never actually read it.

Here is the operational section of the pledge as signed by hundreds of candidates for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate: I pledge that I will …

"ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

"TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."

Grover, whom I've known for maybe 30 years, has been the bulwark against income tax increases to pay for higher spending by the Federal government. He has been steadfast and unwavering in his belief that The Pledge will prevent Congress (or state legislatures) from increasing income taxes on working Americans to pay for campaign promises made by legislators at all levels.

According to the Washington Post, Sen. Graham came out in favor of Section I of The Pledge, but was backing off Section II. Graham said,

"I agree with Grover - we shouldn't raise rates - but I think Grover is wrong when it comes to we can't cap deductions and buy down debt."

In an interview on Face the Nation in August, Bob Schieffer asked Norquist whether getting rid of tax preferences, exemptions, deductions and the like was allowed under The Pledge.

Grover responded that he was for that sort of cleansing of the tax code "as long as you decrease marginal tax rates at the same time … so it is revenue neutral."

It's that "revenue neutral" language which may be heading over the Fiscal Cliff. On Thursday of last week, Sen. Chambliss said in an interview with a Georgia TV station that he didn't feel bound by a pledge he signed 20 years ago.

"Times have changed significantly, and I care more about this country than I do a 20-year-old pledge."

New York Congressman Peter King said on Meet the Press yesterday that he agreed with Sen. Chambliss:

"A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress. … The world has changed, and the economic situation is different."

According to Fox News, King "said he was opposed to tax increases but that 'everything should be on the table' when President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid try to broker a deal."

King said he wouldn't prejudge such a deal and "we should not be taking ironclad positions."

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.