Toomey says he was “disappointed” to see conservatives such as Hewitt and Norquist roasting his proposal, but he acknowledges that “good, reasonable conservatives can disagree on the best approach to the situation. I think it’s worth something to avoid a gigantic tax increase that is written into the law and we may not have the political ability to prevent! I think having pro-growth tax reform is worth something, and I think there is a reasonably broad consensus on the Republican side that I’m right — the Wall Street Journal editorial page, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Bennett, Paul Ryan, and many of my colleagues. I understand the anxiety that it created, but I do think it was the right policy.”
Indeed, not every talk-show host is fuming over Toomey’s proposal. Bennett says, “I like and admire Senator Toomey and think he did the right thing. . . . His plan would broaden the tax base while reducing rates, much like Paul Ryan’s plan. But most importantly, Senator Toomey gave us the best chance to win the political narrative. Republicans, our side, stepped up and offered more revenue, while Democrats balked and the president did nothing. Some in the conservative base were bothered by Toomey, but I wasn’t, and independents and moderates should be impressed if they hear about it.”
Toomey says that he plans to take elements of his plan, the relatively non-controversial spending reductions and non-tax-hike-related ways of increasing federal revenue, and bring them to the Senate floor individually. His collective plan may be kaput, but some of the ideas may still have some fight left in them.