Second-day opening paragraphs on stories about disasters such as air crashes always include something about "picking through the charred wreackage." And that's what Democrats are doing now in Texas, where the state legislature races were, well, a disaster.
No other state in the country, it seems, will be able to provide a better example of how the right wing will govern, and what that actually means to people.
Three facts stand out pretty starkly: 1) The state faces a budget deficit of at least $18 billion; 2) None of the tidal wave of newly elected GOP legislators will even discuss a tax hike; 3) Political observers nationwide, from both sides of the aisle, will have the Lege's actions under a microscope as they gauge the effect it will have on the 2012 GOP primary.
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Dealing with deficits without raising taxes means cuts. And it won't be "trimming the fat," either.
"All the low-hanging fruit has been taken, which only leaves more difficult choices for policymakers," says Arturo Perez, fiscal analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, in an NPR piece about how new governors -- Democrat and Republican -- will be dealing with budget crises across the country.
With Governor Rick Perry's every move this session being made with an eye to 2012, with vast majorities in the House and Senate -- and with many of the new State Reps being relative newcomers who may listen more to State Senator Dan Patrick's Tea Party Caucus than establishment Republicans -- things will get very interesting.
And the public will get a clear idea of what it means to "cut bloated government," for better or ill. Grab some popcorn and watch.