Actually, none of those guys were the first to crack. Republican Senator Tom Coburn, way back in July, wrote an op-ed published in the NYTimes that complained about Norquist’s “tortured definition of tax purity” while concluding that the Norquist pledge is now irrelevant.
More amazing ... the sudden defection of Arizona's newest Republican Senator Jeff Flake, than which there is no more conservative individual in Congress (Flake voted with Virginia Foxx to deny federal relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina). During a candidate debate this year, Flake actually denied having ever signed the Norquist pledge, though he most certainly did. “The only pledge I’d sign [now] is a pledge to sign no more pledges,” Flake said, which was his way of saying, "Don't count on me, Grover."
We knew Norquist's grip on Republican gonads was really doomed when we heard Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday say on November 11th:
"It won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires. It really won't, I don't think. I don't really understand why Republicans don't take Obama's offer. 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?"Under these circumstances, what's a Tea Partier to do? More to the point, what will Grover Norquist order them to do?