Jeb Bush rejects Norquist pledge


We talked earlier in the week about “the pledge” – a promise to Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform that they will not support raising any tax on anyone by any amount for any reason. In an unexpected twist, in 2012, a growing number of Republicans are choosing not to sign it.

Today, a leading GOP voice said he doesn’t like it either.

For those who can’t watch clips online, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) asked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush whether he agrees with the Norquist pledge. Bush replied:

“No. So I ran for office three times. The pledge was presented to me three times. I never signed the pledge. I cut taxes every year I was governor. I don’t believe you outsource your principles and convictions to people. I respect Grover’s political involvement. He has it every right to do it, but I never signed any pledge.”

I still think it’d be an overstatement to characterize the pledge as a project that’s failing. After all, Mitt Romney has already signed his name to Norquist’s pledge.

But at least for now, Republicans are balking at the pledge in numbers unseen in a long while.

For what it’s worth, I don’t necessarily see this as evidence of moderation. On the contrary, many, if not all, of those who are rejecting Norquist’s project appear to be very much in line with his anti-tax orthodoxy. But at least some in the GOP are balking because they don’t like the idea of, in Jeb Bush’s words, outsourcing your principles and convictions to others.

Given the prevailing political winds, I’ll take hints of progress in Republican politics where I can find them.