For those of you who know me, this is going to be shocking. But I'm gonna do it anyway. I'm saying it loud and clear: Governor Owens, you're doing the right thing. Gov. Owens and I typically agree on very little. I think he'd probably agree with my characterization of him as a rightie with very, very conservative views. I'm more of a moderate-to-liberal progressive. Our opinions diverge on the environment, choice, health care policy, K-12 funding priorities and a lot of other things. But he's taking a whole bunch of flak for his position on a state budget compromise and I feel like I have to point out that his detractors on this are, well, crackpots. Of course in this case, the battering Gov. Owens is taking is closer to friendly fire than conventional bipartisan warfare. It's Republicans like Senator John Evans, Senator Tom Wiens, Representative Joe Stengel and Independence Institute honcho Jon Caldera taking potshots at him. But unfortunately for Gov. Owens, the criticism is no accident. So much for the Ronald Reagan Memorial Rule of Republicans: "Speak no ill of fellow Republicans." As my old-style Republican dad used to say on issues of legislative policy, " If neither party is completely happy, then it's a good compromise for the people." In these days of lockstep Republican orthodoxy, he'd be kicked out of the party. But then he was a pragmatist, not a dogmatist. Senator Ken Gordon, admittedly a Democrat, said "What brought (both parties) to the center was reality." I agree. Without a compromise, deep and painful cuts are looming for basic government functions. A number of Senate Republicans understand this reality and got on board with the compromise The Senate's top Republican, Mark Hillman has asked for a little Republican kumbaya on this issue, asking opponents to cool their jets, "What we owe the voters between now and November is an even-handed discussion of the choices that we are going to face." Yeah, but the current naysayers are living in a la-la land based on distorted thinking. Their patron saint, D.C.-based uber-taxcutter Grover Norquist, thinks that military protection is the only truly legitimate government expenditure. I'm afraid they're going to skip the sing-a-long. So at this point let me say "Go, Bill, go!" You take on your opponents in this thing and let them know that the rest of us actually expect government to invest in our common infrastructure and the state's future. Good luck to you.