I liked what Ezra Klein said about Kent Conrad earlier today. I've followed his career quite a bit, too, since I worked for another North Dakota Senator when Conrad was newly elected, and because I'm a big fan of Richard Fenno's When Incumbency Fails, which tells the story of Conrad's predecessor, Mark Andrews.
My comment? If you were to ask me for the list of United States Senators who really cared about budget deficits, my list would probably begin and end with Kent Conrad. Sure, he's not an absolutist about it, and sure, there are other Senators who probably have the deficit reasonably high on the list of priorities, but Conrad, from what I can see, is the only one who consistently seems to place the budget deficit front and center. Now, that's not exactly my cup of tea, so on policy grounds he's never been one of my favorites, but if you care about the budget deficit, you really should be a Kent Conrad fan.