That is real verbal jujitsu. Ending a tax break is not only cutting wasteful spending, it's ending a tax hike. Translation: if you cut marginal rates, close out tax loopholes and net substantial additional revenue (as Bowles-Simpson and most other deficit reduction plans propose), you are "cutting taxes." We're back to that circumlocutory letter that Coburn Chambliss and Crapo said to Norquist when Norquist first started screaming that raising new revenue by cutting tax expenditures would violate his no-new-taxes-ever pledge.
“Today’s way of doing business is a tax increase on anyone who can’t hire a tax lobbyist or make large donations to special interest groups in Washington,” Coburn said in a Friday statement. “Taxpayers are tired of this game and expect us to eliminate wasteful special interest spending in all of its forms.”
In any case, Jonathan Chait sees the 34 GOP votes for Coburn's amendment as a watershed, a slight loosening of Norquist's chokehold on the GOP. I hope he's right.