Bob Corker Doesn't Really Matter

| Mon Dec. 10, 2012 3:56 PM EST

Republican senator Bob Corker says he'd be OK with raising taxes. Hallelujah! Except that he's said this before. It's nothing new. Dave Weigel is tired of this game:

When I carp about Meet the Pressistan, this is what I'm talking about — a mobius strip conversation among the same handful of people, giving the illusion that a broader conversation must also be moving the same way. For two weeks, Tom Cole has been on the record for raising the top rate. Tom Coburn has been talking this way for two years. When will somebody sit down the Sunday show bookers and tell them that the votes of reluctant House members, very vulnerable to primaries, matter more than whatever a compromise-friendly Republican senator is re-re-re-re-stating?

It's possible that Republicans really are starting to give way on taxes. And it's noteworthy that someone like Corker is making his position more public and more pointed than in the past. Still, Weigel is right. There have always been a small handful of Republicans willing to compromise on taxes. The fact that they're still willing to compromise really isn't news. Whether the tea party caucus in the House is willing to swallow tax increases—and whether John Boehner can make a deal without them if he needs to—are the only real questions at issue right now.

(That's on the Republican side, of course. Another real question is whether Obama can get Democrats to go along with a deal that cuts entitlement spending. Probably he can, but it's no sure thing.)