The sober language of reality is slowly spreading through the state Capitol.
The Legislature is in the midst of a two-week hiatus, while knots of lawmakers pore through the innards of an $18 billion state budget.
They’re looking for $1.2 billion or more that can be sliced away, or paid for with new funds — be they called tax hikes, fee increases, revenue enhancements or tuition maximizations.
We are used to Republican rhetoric from Washington, where a congressman can rail against out-of-control federal spending from dawn to dusk — and in the evening still take credit for the money that Democrats send the way of his voters.
But in the state Capitol, where the GOP is actually in charge of the machinery, Republicans have gone quiet as they grope for the line that divides sloganeering from real life — the balance between what you and I need from government, and what we’re willing to pay.
The important parties are giving themselves plenty of room to maneuver.