It's hard to know where they found the time, but it seems that Republican state legislators must have been watching that famous Dallas soap opera episode where Bobby Ewing returns from the dead after being run over by a car the previous season. And how did this occur? Simple, it was a dream. Despite 300 million witnesses watching the death and an entire season of talking about Ewing's demise, it really never happened.
They can get away with that in television. Apparently Republicans think they can get away with that in Sacramento, too.
After rejecting repeated calls for a vote to place a proposition on the ballot to continue the temporary tax increases passed by the legislature two years ago, Republican legislators now say that the vote should take place, as long as the ballot includes the opportunity for voters to consider pension reform and spending caps.
Wait a second. Haven't Republicans been saying this all along? Well, yes they have. Then, why say it now? To remind the voters that Republicans aren't holding up the budget -- Jerry Brown and the legislative Democrats are!
In fact, Republicans are correct -- to a point. From the earliest days of the stalemate, Republicans have said that they would consider allowing the electorate to weigh in on the temporary tax increases if they could include their issues, too.
Brown and the Democrats have opposed the move on the basis that it blurs the main issue of balancing the budget.
We'll deal with these issues separately, the Democrats say, but first we must be able to move forward with the vote. You, the Republicans, are holding the state hostage with your intransigence.
But in politics, all issues are fair game. What seems peripheral to Brown and the Democrats is essential to the Republicans who must have some concessions as cover for their vote. The point is reasonable, if undesirable to the Democrats.
So, now what?
The public is pretty disgusted with both parties right now, according to recent polls. Each side has to take a deep breath and find some wiggle room. Republicans have to allow a public vote (resistance is killing them from a PR standpoint) and Brown and the Democrats have to give something besides platitudes in return for that vote. The deal is doable if each side considers the problems of the other side -- that's what compromise is all about.
And by the way, they all should stay away from reruns and concentrate on a new episode in state budget negotiations. The old ones are getting pretty stale.