Over at Human Events, Pat Buchanan warns Republican waverers that they need to stand firm on the Grover Norquist pledge and never, ever raise the tax rates of the wealthy:
Like the Panama Canal debate that made Ronald Reagan a hero, this is a defining moment. No GOP senator who agreed to the Carter-Torrijos treaty ever made it onto a national ticket.There you have it in a nutshell: Sticking with the pledge is as important as ... vowing never to accept the Panama Canal Treaty. You remember the Panama Canal Treaty, right? It was signed in the 1970s. It went into effect in 1999. After 1999, Panama, not the U.S., controlled the canal. And yet the Earth didn't tilt off its axis and the zombie apocalypse never happened. America didn't collapse. Our enemies didn't overrun us or crush us. The treaty went through -- and nothing terrible happened. I think even Pat Buchanan would acknowledge that.
And that's the analogy Buchanan gives us to explain why it's absolutely necessary for Republicans to stop a tax increase on the rich.
See, for Republicans, it's not about preventing harm to the nation, or doing what's right. It's about drawing lines in the sand for the sake of drawing lines in the sand. It's about defining "toughness" -- in foreign policy, on the economy, on crime, on immigration -- and then defending the turf that's been staked out.
Buchanan isn't embarrassed to offer that Panama analogy, even though treaty opposition was a phony issue that amounted to nothing. Toughness is all. (Well, toughness and lining rich people's pockets.) Toughness is the GOP brand. That's more important than reaching a compromise with a president who just won reelection. That's more important than responding to public opinion. That's more important than doing what's right for the country.