Of course, no one is suggesting that the party should abandon its overall commitment to low taxes. But there is clearly a growing realization among many Republicans that the party’s current image as favoring the wealthy at the expense of the middle class has become politically toxic – as has the perception that the party puts ideological purity before practicality. As Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) wrote in an opinion piece for CNN: "We must not be the party that simply protects the well off so they can keep their toys."
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol kicked off the "let's consider higher tax rates for the rich" conversation last weekend, when he said on Fox News Sunday: “It won’t kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires. It really won’t.” He then asked rhetorically: “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 to Republicans?”
That line was echoed this week by some Republican governors: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told Politico that his party would have to be more flexible when it came to raising taxes on the wealthy. “Elections do have consequences,” he said. “As a piece of an overall package with tax reform that is more comprehensive, I think it’s something that absolutely has got to be discussed.”
Mr. Barbour, the former Mississippi governor, concurred, saying: “If there’s enough savings, if there’s enough entitlement reform, if there’s enough certainty about tax reform in the next few years, I would" let the Bush tax cuts expire on top earners. He added: “You can’t be purist.”