Debra J. Saunders

The problem is: Republicans' idea of principle has been to pass spending plans that burned extra tax dollars without levying higher taxes to pay for these programs. As Republican Tom Campbell, the former state finance director who may run for governor in 2010, noted, "There is nothing principled in passing a dishonest budget."

And: "To say that because you're willing to compromise, you lack principle, well, that's an argument for a monarchy."

As of my deadline, details of the Sacramento budget are sketchy, but Sen. GOP leader Dave Cogdill told the Sacramento Bee he was releasing Republicans to support the measure because, "I've negotiated it to the point where I think it doesn't get any better."

Even without the details, I can safely predict the plan will include painful spending cuts and painful tax increases. Yes, it will be humbling.

It could have been easier if Sacramento solons had been better at cutting deals earlier. Alas, like their constituents, Sacramento lawmakers have had a too-royal view of their principles. Like children, they've dedicated their careers to doing whatever they pleased -- righteous in their conviction that whatever came easy was right.

Debra J. Saunders

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