"What do you mean 'we', Kemosabe" is what his fellow Republicans call Senator Judd Gregg--the last Republican fiscal conservative--when he calls on them to do a "serious budget."
Ezra Klein: Flower Child : Poor Judd Gregg. One year you're an all-powerful feudal lord commanding your corner of the Senate, the next you're an azalea:
Senate Budget Committee Chair Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) on Wednesday called for spending reductions in the fiscal year 2007 budget, "particularly in health care programs" such as Medicare, CQ Today reports. The FY 2007 budget process will begin on Feb. 6, when President Bush delivers his proposed budget to Congress. Gregg said, "I'm not here to be a potted plant.... If we're going to do a budget, it's going to be a serious budget." Gregg said that he expects the budget proposal from Bush to include spending reductions, adding, "We can't afford our government as it is currently structured." Gregg also rejected the opinion that Republicans should avoid spending reductions in an election year, adding, "As Republicans, we should look at it as a strength, not a weakness." However, "Gregg's fervor for budget cuts ... is not shared by all of his GOP colleagues," according to CQ Today.
Ah yes, budget cuts in an election year. Cutting programs as an electoral asset. Conservatives are so cute when they daydream. As for the budget, it will most assuredly not be a serious budget, a point well proven by the recently reversed reductions in Medicare spending, which demonstrated quite conclusively that a party too timid to cross either seniors or lobbyists can't really save any money on anything at all. But it's hard to blame the GOP for all this, it's just the reality of it. If anyone ever lets Gregg bloom, the Republican majority will instantly whither and die.
I can't think of a time when the Republican Senate caucus was even a third grownups. But now they seem to be down to less than five.