This morning I noticed the following in Grover Norquist's actual pledge (PDF):
I, _____, pledge to the taxpayers of the __ districtAs Jed and other have noted, when John Boehner or Grover Norquist talk about eliminating deductions they also talk about cutting rates so these changes are themselves "revenue neutral" and the only actual "new revenue" that is on the table is the additional tax revenue they claim will be created by reducing rates so that people pay less in taxes, not more.
of the state of___, and to the American people 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.
This is an extreme position, but it is right there in the pledge, and it is the main reason Saxby Chambliss and others are coming to their senses that you can not reduce the deficit and maintain this radical position given how low all taxes rates are right now.
You can't half break a pledge, it's all or nothing, and for Norquist it looks more and more like nothing as his pledge is made more and more irrelevant by current events.
According to Reuters, only 218 of 234 incoming House Republicans have signed the pledge. This means if they have even a single defector, Norquist will no longer have a majority. I'm not clear if any Democrats signed the pledge, but suspect they will be more prone to logic.
UPDATE: Changed title to clarify that any new limit on deductions breaks the pledge.
BREAKING: Looks like they already have one defector. Peter King from New York:
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) rebuked Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge Sunday, declaring "the world has changed and the economic situation is different."
"If I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed a declaration of war against Japan," said King on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I'm not going to attack Japan today.”
By signing the pledge, lawmakers agree to "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business," and "oppose any net reduction" or elimination of deductions and credits, unless it is matched dollar for dollar with further tax rate cuts.
Among the other Republicans who have expressed misgivings about the pledge in recent months are Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Representative Steve LaTourette of Ohio, who is leaving the House, citing the polarized climate in Washington.
The new House of Representatives, which starts work in January, has 16 Republicans who have not signed the pledge, up from six in the outgoing Congress. One new Republican senator, Jeff Flake, also has not signed.
Democrats believe they have the upper hand in talks, after Obama's win over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a campaign in which Obama stressed the need for the wealthy to pay more in taxes.