Mark Belling's most recent column for The Freeman, a Waukesha daily paper, is a predictable screed against Gov. Jim Doyle's budget.
This is how it opens:
"While Gov. Jim Doyle is the one proposing a staggering $1.7 billion in new taxes, not a single penny of additional tax burden can be imposed without the votes of Republicans. How the GOP plays this will tell a lot about whether Wisconsin actually has two parties of differing philosophies."
Like the blind squirrel finding a stray acorn, Belling has hit upon something true, but he can't handle the full historical reality because it undermines his conservative ideology.
Doyle's budget funds a state government largely built during the taxing-and-spending hog feeding of the Tommy Thompson era, when Republicans wrote and passed state budgets - - without restraint.
All those new highways, new state office buildings, expanded agencies - - those were sunk deeply into state government and the taxpayers' pockets by Tommy and his crew.
And as much as conservative legislators complain about sstat spending, GOP legislators were unable to get TABOR I or II or CXV passed because their constituents liked enough of thse programs to make those controls politically unacceptable.
The GOP still controls the Assembly, but in the end, they will do what their constituents want, and reach compromise with the Dems and Doyle, because government is a middle-of-the-road operation, and not the product of talk show thinking.