Debra J. Saunders

DeVore argued that Republicans have to oppose tax increases because, "The brand of what it means to be Republican is now in jeopardy of meaning nothing." So instead the brand has come to mean: more spending without paying for it.

And being a Democrat means spending extra without paying for it because you can blame the minority party -- as party leaders take no responsibility. They were downright apoplectic at Schwarzenegger's suggestion that the Legislature and the governor -- who already does not pocket his paycheck -- forfeit their $173 per diem and their paychecks -- members make $116,208 annually -- "for every day the budget goes past" its June 15 deadline. "I mean, if you call a taxi and the taxi doesn't come, you don't pay the driver," Schwarzenegger explained.

Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, cited the two-thirds tax-approval requirement and asked, "Why should I have my pay withheld when I'm being held hostage by a minority?" Ditto Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.

"Why let the taxi driver take us into a dead end?" Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, asked later. Oddly, he was not referring to the Democratic-led Legislature. The state is drowning in red ink -- and they want their paychecks pronto.

The only guy not pointing fingers at others was former Gov. Gray Davis -- who was ousted in the 2003 recall. And for what? For raising taxes, of course. The circle is complete.

Schwarzenegger proclaimed Thursday, "It is not that California is ungovernable. It is that for too long we have been split by ideology."

Not quite. If Schwarzenegger had cut spending when Democrats feared him, the budget hole would be smaller. If he had raised taxes earlier, the increases would be less painful. If there were adults running Sacramento, there would be a budget deal today. And now that Schwarzenegger is governing like an adult, he is all alone.

Debra J. Saunders

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