Sunday best: Bill Kristol wants to raise taxes on millionaires

Shocker! Influential conservative says the GOP should be willing to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires

Topics: Taxes, Bill Kristol, Fiscal cliff, Election 2012, Sunday Best, GOP Civil War,

Sunday best: Bill Kristol wants to raise taxes on millionairesBill Kristol (Credit: Wikipedia/Gage Skidmore)

With the election over, the hot new thing that all the cool kids on the Sunday political chat shows were talking about today was the looming fiscal cliff and what Congress should do about it — and you’ll be surprised by one recommendation.

The tax increases and government spending cuts set to go into effect early next year are so massive that they could plunge the economy back into recession, unless Congress figures out a less painful way to reduce the deficit. The argument has so far broken down along the predictable partisan lines that we’ve seen in countless congressional battles over the past few years. Democrats want a balance of spending cuts and tax increases, while Republicans insist on zero tax increases, and maybe not even a dime in new revenue increases of any kind.

But just as the election has chastened Republicans on immigration, it may be doing the same thing on taxes. Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard and one of the most prominent establishment conservative voices in Washington, threw the door wide open to tax hikes as part of fiscal cliff negotiations today. “It won’t kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires … It really won’t, I don’t think. I don’t really understand why Republicans don’t take Obama’s offer,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

He continued: “Really? The Republican Party is going to fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic and half of whom live in Hollywood and are hostile?” It’s a remarkable statement, coming from Kristol.

Kristol has often clashed with Tea Party conservatives, but certainly holds the almost religious devotion to tax cuts that is the bedrock principle of the modern Republican Party. It’s the one thing that unites Ronald Reagan’s “three-legged stool” of the conservative coalition — free marketeers, social conservatives and national security hawks. Even more dramatic than Sean Hannity’s immigration shift, Bill Kristol’s shift on taxes suggests the party (or at least some leaders in it) have been shaken to their core by the election. While immigration is one of many important second-tier issues , taxes are the issue to the GOP, so compromising here is a much bigger deal. “At current velocity some Republicans will be calling for carbon tax and single payer health care by end of the year,” the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza quipped on Twitter in regards to Kristol’s remark.

If Kristol’s remarks represent a nascent shift in the party (it’s too early to tell at the moment), then it certainly bodes well for fiscal cliff negotiations and the future of the country, which will need tax cuts to deal with the deficit. One thing’s for sure, Kristol will likely be getting an angry phone call later today from Grover Norquist, the enforcer of the party’s anti-tax orthodoxy.

On the Democratic side of the equation, Washington Sen. Patty Murray took a hard line on fiscal cliff negotiations and suggested that Democrats should be willing to go over the cliff if need be, a welcome sign for progressives who are worried that President Obama will cave too easily.  “We can’t accept an unfair deal that piles on the middle class and tell them they have to support it,” she said on “This Week” on ABC. “So if the Republicans will not agree with [revenue increases], we will reach a point at the end of this year where all the tax cuts expire and we’ll start over next year. And whatever we do will be a tax cut for whatever package we put together. That may be the way to get past this.”

By the way, you can expect to see a lot more of Murray during the lame duck session of Congress and next year. Murray, the chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, just led one of the most impressive electoral efforts in recent memory, picking up two seats for Democrats in a year when they should have lost many more than that. These victories will likely elevate her within the party.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the chat shows, Republicans debated their future. CNN’s “State of the Union” assembled a panel seeking to represent various factions of the conservative movement. There was Gary Bauer, a staunch social conservative; Jon Huntsman, a moderate with crossover appeal; Carlos Gutierrez, George W. Bush’s commerce secretary, who has worked to reach out to Hispanics; and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who led outreach to women for Mitt Romney’s campaign.

The panel was representative of the party today in that it was fairly neatly divided into two camps. The moderates said the party needs to moderate some, especially its rhetoric, with Gutierrez saying Latinos were “scared of the Republican Party” this year with all of its language of self-deportation and illegals. Bauer, naturally, opposed this. “We don’t need two liberal parties,” he said, before telling Gutierrez that Hispanics don’t care about immigration. (“Pretty ridiculous to see Gary Bauer lecture Sec. Carlos Gutierrez about what is important to Hispanics,” tweeted Ana Navarro, who advised John McCain’s presidential campaign on Hispanic outreach.) McMorris Rodgers agreed: “I don’t think it’s about the Republican Party needing to become more moderate.”

On “Meet the Press,” Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, announced that he was restarting talks on comprehensive immigration reform  with Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who has called for his party to moderate on immigration. “The Republican Party has learned that being anti-immigrant doesn’t work for them politically. And they know it,” Schumer said, explaining why he thinks his bill could succeed this year, even though similar efforts have failed in the past.

Beyond the Beltway, CNN’s Candy Crowley checked in with Jerry Brown, the Democratic governor of California, where Dems won huge victories Tuesday. Voters approved a referendum to raise taxes on the wealthy and also installed a Democratic supermajority in both houses, which is critical in a state that requires supermajorities to raise taxes. Brown noted that the national anti-tax movement started in California over 30 years ago and said the state is now starting a wave of more pragmatic approach to taxes.

As governor of a state with one of the most oldest medical marijuana laws in the country, he said the federal government needs to back off of California, along with states like Washington and Colorado, which just passed marijuana legalization laws. It should be up to them on how to regulate the drug, he said. “Be careful, you’re sounding like a Republican,” Crowley joked of Brown’s states’ rights talk. Still, Brown said he opposed full legalization in his state.

Finally, there was lots of talk, of course, about the resignation of David Petraeus as the head of the CIA. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, told “Fox News Sunday” that she plans to investigate the FBI for failing to give her and other committee members advance notice about their discovery of Petraeus’ affair. She said the FBI is required to keep her committee abreast of developments like this, but failed. Rep. Peter King, the Republican chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, was suspicious, saying the FBI had known about the affair for months, but failed to inform the president. “The FBI should have had an obligation to tell the president … It just doesn’t add up,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.” And Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the Republican ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, said he still expects Petraeus to testify at some point on what went wrong in the attacks on U.S. diplomats in Libya.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>