BOSTON — In the city where a protest over tax policy sparked a revolution, modern day tea party activists are cheering the recent Republican revolt in Washington that embarrassed House Speaker John Boehner and pushed the country closer to a “fiscal cliff” that forces tax increases and massive spending cuts on virtually every American.
“I want conservatives to stay strong,” said Christine Morabito, president of the Greater Boston Tea Party. “Sometimes things have to get a lot worse before they get better.”
Anti-tax conservatives from every corner of the nation echo her sentiment.
More than a dozen activists said they would rather fall off the cliff than agree to a compromise that includes tax increases for any Americans, no matter how high their income.
They dismiss economists’ warnings that the automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts set to take effect Jan. 1 could trigger a fresh recession, and they overlook the fact that most people would see their taxes increase if President Barack Obama and Boehner, R-Ohio, fail to reach a year-end agreement.
On Capitol Hill, some Republicans worry about the practical and political implications should the GOP block a compromise designed to avoid tax increases for most Americans and cut the nation’s deficit.
“It weakens the entire Republican Party, the Republican majority,” Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, said Thursday night shortly after rank-and-file Republicans rejected Boehner’s “Plan B” — a measure that would have prevented tax increases on all Americans but million-dollar earners.
It’s a concern that does not seem to resonate with conservatives such as tea party activist Frank Smith, of Cheyenne, Wyo.
He cheered Boehner’s failure as a victory for anti-tax conservatives and a setback for Obama, just six weeks after the president won re-election on a promise to cut the deficit in part by raising taxes on incomes exceeding $250,000.
It’s not just tea party activists who want Republicans in Washington to stand firm.
In conservative states such as South Carolina and Louisiana, party leaders are encouraging members of their congressional delegations to oppose any deal that includes tax increases. Elected officials from those states have little political incentive to cooperate with the Democratic president, given that most of their constituents voted for Obama’s Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.
In Louisiana, state GOP Chairman Roger Villere said that “people are frustrated with Speaker Boehner. They hear people run as conservatives, run against tax hikes. They want them to keep their word.”
Conservative opposition to compromise with Obama does not reflect the view of most Americans, according to recent public opinion polls.