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Little rebellions against party orthodoxy

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Gregory Smith / AP / File

(Read caption) U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga, right, speaks to supporters during a Fair Tax rally in November 2008, in Duluth, Ga. Chambliss is one of the Republicans in a bipartisan group that is trying to develop a plan to reduce the deficit.

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Ideological heresy may not quite be breaking out all over Washington, but in the growing debate over the burgeoning debt, there are helpful hints of apostasy. And hope of a bipartisan consensus for responsible deficit reduction may lie atop those tiny waves of dissent.

The latest whiff of hopeful heterodoxy comes from three Republican senators– Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Mike Crapo of Idaho, and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. In quiet backroom negotiations and in a remarkable public exchange of letters with Grover Norquist of American for Tax Reform, the three lawmakers suggest that they might—might—support revenue-raising tax reform as part of a broader deficit reduction deal.

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