Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Redemption of Andy Dillon

Where the budget ball stops, nobody knows.

Last night's Gongwer had a few clues for us- the most important being the Republicans backing off the immediate cuts threat.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday will hear a report on how much can be practicably cut from the state budget, but the committee will not act to move any spending cuts to the Senate floor on that day.

OK. Not sure why that information wasn't available before this, but OK. From the House?

The House is anticipated to move on some revenue measure this week, but most likely Wednesday. The chamber is only in session for Tuesday and Wednesday in observance of Rosh Hashanah.

Before you scream about that, the Senate has a tentative schedule on Friday and the House has penciled in Monday. The fact that they made those moves indicates that they realize the urgency here. It would be fun to just lock them in the building, but they do need to sleep sometime.

Anything can happen at this point, even the dreaded "continuation" budget.

Senate Republicans are preparing to introduce blank bills this week that would allow for a continuation budget if no agreement is finalized by the end of the current fiscal year.

Senate Republicans are now moving to cover their own obstructionism. Not surprised about that. Let them do what they are going to do.

Right now, it comes down to one guy- Andy Dillon.

The Speaker dropped in here Sunday afternoon. I was reluctant to drag him up to the front page at first, but now I think it needs to be done to show you just where his head was at, as of that day. Who knows, things might have changed by now, events are moving pretty fast.

Here's Andy on Sunday-

Because I have only been in public office for a couple years, it appears I have been misguided in my belief that during a crisis of this magnitude, the majority of politicians would put politics aside and do the right thing. I knew there would be a few lost causes, but I was confident a majority of legislators would emerge to fix the problem.

Sadly, I may have been misguided.  We now have three weeks left to solve the problem.  I do not expect that we will negotiate a compromise.  Instead, the solution will arise from the ashes of an ugly series of vollies.  Its not the path I prefer, but it is the only one left.  It would be entertaining if this were a only a movie, but, unfortunately, real lives may be affected by our failure to craft a bi-partisan solution to the State's fiscal crisis.

That was one scary bit of information to read.

more over the flip
Is it really that bad? On the surface, I may seem like a complete cynic at times, but underneath it all I believed they would do the right thing, too.

Matter of fact, I still do.

I think they will pull this thing together. Why? Because the Speaker also said this-

We will keep the pressure on. We have too much to lose.

This is it. This is redemption time for the Democrats, and for Andy Dillon.

You see, I have felt a bit misguided, too. I was silly enough to believe, sincerely believe, that when Democrats said last year during the elections that they would "fight for us", that they would actually get out there and, you know, fight for us.

Then I watched them walk away from the Governor's ambitious plan to solve this problem once and for all, left her hanging in the wind after they swept into power on her coattails, watched that undermine public confidence in Democratic leadership, watched them lose all that momentum that we had coming off the election, watched them blow media strategy repeatedly, watched them basically go back to being... well, finger-in-the-wind Democrats who were happy to just worry about protecting their own careers.

It's been hard. Really hard.

So now it all boils down to this- "we have too much to lose".

Instead of looking at all that we could have gained, all that we could have accomplished, we are left with trying to save the basic necessities of just getting by.

Yeah, I'm pissed off about that. And I've pointed the finger right at Andy Dillon for it time and time again.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the place we are now- I started to have some sympathy for him. He is a very intelligent, thoughtful guy. Maybe he was just trying to do the right thing. Maybe he was misguided. I really don't know. Maybe he is playing us for fools. It's a possibility. He is a politican.

But for him to come here and seemingly open up to us showed a great deal of courage, especially if he has been reading all this time. He walked into a site that was tearing him apart, and he spoke up. I watched another politician do that last year- and I think it's a real gutsy thing to do. After all, some politicians think they need to shut down sites like this.

"I'm not going to keep getting punched by him". That line struck a chord with me. I know what that feels like, when you get to the point where you say "enough is enough". It's quite liberating, actually.

I believe that he can take that courage he has displayed and do the same now with the budget. Granted, there is a HUGE difference between talking to the proletariat on the blogs and dealing with his constituents and peers and perhaps putting his career on the line, but that one act showed me this guy does have courage. And it wasn't just that, it was opening up to the media, too.

That is all it takes, courage. And the conviction of your beliefs.

Deep down, I think Dillon and the Democrats have got it.

I know the Governor does.

These are not stupid people. They know what needs to be done. We probably won't like what they end up doing- there will be cuts, reforms and taxes, and a bunch of people are going to be unhappy, but I think they will work this out.

So, Speaker Dillon, show us what ya got. Move your party, move those revenues, NOW, and get this fixed. The whole state is riding on what you do next, and this cynic believes you can do the right thing.

Redemption is at hand. Don't let us down. We have too much to lose.