The reality of the state Capitol in recent years has been one of the zero sum game - that is, all efforts to find true middle ground on the thorny policy and political issues have come up empty.
Which explains why the most interesting question in the months to come may be whether the 2012 election, and the state's improving economy, create a new kind of balancing act.
This week's Capitol Connection podcast looks at the fiscal report issued this week by the Legislature's independent analysts and what it might mean for the year ahead.
Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and I also discuss the choices Democrats will have to make about how they use their new supermajority status... or even if they can.
Audio of the podcast is below; you can also subscribe via iTunes