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COMMENTARY

Since I’ve been hanging out here at the state Capitol, the official land of the extended metaphor, I’ve got one for you.

Brad McElhinny

Two astronauts are tethered on opposite sides of a disabled spacecraft. Both astronauts are highly motivated.

To get back to their ship, fire up the propulsion systems and travel safely home, they have to pull themselves hand-over-hand back toward the spacecraft.

If one astronaut tugs too hard, the spaceshift will tumble into a sphere of hot plasma – the sun.

If the other astronaut pulls too vigorously, the spacecraft will helplessly float into deepest, darkest, coldest space.

So the two astronauts have to move in unison, maintaining control as they move toward their common goal, the spacecraft that will take them home.

Or how about a sports metaphor?

Log rolling seems like the appropriate imagery.

Two aggressive, competitive participants stand on opposite ends of a floating log, spinning it with their feet. They spin to keep pace and to maintain balance. Don’t lose control or you’ll toss yourself into the water below and be eaten by giant sea spiders.

That’s the position our governor and our state legislators find themselves in.

Both sides control the state budget and the half-billion-dollar shortfall that comes with it. Neither side can get a grip on the budget without the other.

The governor says revenue enhancements, mostly tax increases, are the best way to solve the problem.

The Republican majority in the Legislature says the state can’t afford to spend more than it has already been taking in. That’s going to require cuts.

They have the same problem but different approaches, and eventually they’re going to have to agree on a solution. One side can’t do it without the other.

The countdown clock outside the governor’s office says we have 19 days left to resolve this situation.

Will the two sides be locked in perpetual battle? Will they overreach and hurtle toward doom?

Or will all these knuckleheads find a way to work together to save us all?

This story is still being written.

 

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