Kristol: Tea party won’t care if ‘a few millionaires pay a couple percent more in taxes’ [VIDEO]

Jeff Poor Media Reporter

Bill Kristol is sticking to his guns, contending again that raising taxes shouldn’t be completely out of bounds for Republicans — even for conservative Republicans.

On this weekend’s broadcast of “Fox News Sunday,” the Weekly Standard editor explained what was going on behind the scenes among Republicans on the looming fiscal cliff deadline and the threat of top-end tax rate increases. (RELATED VIDEO: GOP leadership, says Bill Kristol, “has to pull back”)

“The private reaction among Republican congressmen was — honestly, including very conservative ones — was, ‘I don’t know, do we really have to give anything? I guess maybe we do,’” Kristol said. “Maybe it was good that you said that, because we need to cut a deal.’ He won two elections. He didn’t raise rates, correctly, in 2009 because we were in the midst of a horrible downturn. Republicans won a huge off-year election in 2010 and were able to bargain to a status quo deal.”

“I just don’t think Republicans have the leverage, or that it’s worth using all their — whatever leverage they have — to maintain rates at 35 percent instead of 37 or 38, especially if you can take it up to millionaires,” Kristol continued. “I just don’t think it’s economically, as a matter of policy, important enough. Then the big deal has to be big tax reform with lower rates, I think.”

Kristol’s co-panelist Bob Woodward accused him of going off the reservation, saying he would have his “tea party card” burned. But Kristol doubted a tax hike on top income earners would cause waves among tea party members.

“You know, a lot of the tea party guys don’t care that much if a few millionaires pay a couple percent more in taxes, honestly,” Kristol said.

Follow Jeff on Twitter