Ezra Klein argues that, even as Republican House members consider raising taxes, the legacy of Norquist's anti-tax pledge is a dramatically lowered baseline for what we consider acceptable tax rates:
The true test of Norquist’s pledge wasn’t whether a Republican ever voted for another tax increase. It was whether it held tax revenues below where they’d otherwise be. It’s whether it increased the political cost of raising taxes. And today, you can see how well his pledge has worked.
Norquist understood this battle as one that is never actually won or lost. It just goes on forever, and that's perfectly fine with him. And even though there will probably be an increase in taxes at the end of this year, as Ezra Klein argues, Norquist has already won. Despite the fact that Democrats just won a huge victory at the polls, in the upcoming deal everyone is acknowledging that there will be dramatic spending cuts, but even the most modest increase in taxes is being portrayed as an enormous concession by Republicans, one that should naturally be met with something like a revision to the country's most cherished social programs.