For 20 years Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform have ruled the Republican Party with their "No Tax Increase" pledge. Republican politicians with any designs on national office were so wary of being associated with a tax hike that Gov. Tim Pawlenty famously approved a budget with what he called a tobacco "user fee" increase in order to maintain his political aspirations.
The pledge seems to be cracking. Half a dozen or so House and Senate Republicans are making statements these days about approving revenue increases (if not actual tax rate hikes). Some are pointing out that today's $17 trillion national debt makes the situation a lot different than it was 20 years ago.
It would be nice to think that Republicans and Democrats can back away from their polarized positions as they ponder a fiscal plan that will be good for the nation. And we hope voters will reward those who do so, even if they did violate some 20-year-old pledge and draw Grover Norquist's wrath in the process.