David Brooks of The New York Times wrote a column recently essentially castigating both Republicans and Democrats for their shortsighted and inflexible policies. The Republican agenda of tax cuts and little else "is stupefyingly boring, fiscally irresponsible and politically impossible." As for the Democrats, he said, "They offer practically nothing."
Shift the scene to California. The same parties are at loggerheads. (I'm tempted to say dunderheads.) The Republicans won't play ball on a budget and the Democrats aren't willing to back off some pet projects.
Then -- zounds! Into the mix steps Gov. Jerry Brown with a bold move that actually might even impress someone like Brooks. He vetoed the Democratic-approved budget plan, saying that it was built on the same false foundation as so many budgets that have preceded it.
Added to all this is last year's Proposition 25, which forbids legislators from being paid if they haven't approved a budget. So they passed a terrible budget, but now, with Brown's veto, no one really knows whether they get paid or not. Interesting issue.
Longtime Sacramento journalist Daniel Weintraub analyzes Brown's decision in this Orange County Register piece, saying that Brown's veto is high risk. It is -- but it's also a breath of fresh air. Brown seems to be the one person on the public stage who is willing to look for a real solution to some very real budget problems.
Will it work? Well, it's worth a shot anyway.