06/07/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Patrick McHenry: "All We Can Talk About Is Tax Cuts"

Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry, a GOP deputy whip who keeps a bust of Ronald Reagan on his desk, has declared that the era of Reagan economics is over.

In an interview with Time, McHenry said that Republicans are too focused on tax cuts, despite rates being at a generational low. "Marginal tax rates are the lowest they've been in generations, and all we can talk about is tax cuts," he said. "The people's desires have changed, but we're still stuck in our old issue set."

McHenry isn't the first Republican to suggest it's time to leave the 1980's behind. A Wall Street Journaleditorial Thursday asked whether it was time for the party to forget about Reagan. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said as much last weekend.

In the article, Republican Olympia Snowe also complained about the Republicans' focus on tax cuts, without regard for the plight of the average American.

"I don't know when willy-nilly tax cuts became the essence of who we are," she says. "To the average American who's struggling, we're in some other stratosphere. We're the party of Big Business and Big Oil and the rich."

In the same article, Republican mascot Joe the Plumber announced that he is quitting the party.

"Every once in a while," said Norquist, "there's some silly Republican or clever Democrat who says that people aren't concerned with high taxes anymore. Well, we just had 600,000 people in the streets protesting big government, inflation, and the promise of higher taxes. You could not get 600,000 people to do that after four months of Jimmy Carter. You could not get them to do that after four months of Bill Clinton."

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