And for just a moment, I thought I heard the Sibster embracing big government and stimulus money:
We need to go fight for maintenance of our roads for our counties. We must say to the federal government, hey, knock off the strings. We here in South Dakota know what's best with the money that you give us for our Department of Transportation. Let us determine how to spend that money.
What? What?!? Was I hearing Sibby talk like every other good Republican in this state, embracing federal welfare money over paying for what we need with our own local tax dollars? That worldview shaker was almost enough to make me do another tailspin on snowy-slick Highway 81.
But then I reviewed the full committee audio and found the populist Grange farm media had simply soundbitten Sibby into near Marxism. Our man Steve opened his testimony with his usual lucid statement of principles:
As a fiscal conservative, I believe that one of the roles of our limited government is the roads.
We are in the middle of a recession. Everybody's tightening their belts in the private sector....
The best government is local government, and I have full faith in our counties to do the right thing, and they do need some help out there, my friends.
Careful, Sibby: channeling John McCain there.
So Sibby crafts a relatively benign and rational combination of accepting federal assistance while maintaining local control. But then the message unravels. After saying the counties are hurting and roads need work, Sibson responds to a senator's question by suggesting we reject the stimulus money and let other states waste it. Who needs road repair or a temporary boost in employment? (Am I seeing some hands go up at Gehl?)
Senate Transportation voted SB 201 on to the Senate, 6 to 1. The lone vote giving Sibby love: Democrat Frank Kloucek.
You win some, you lose some. But Steve Sibson is making the effort, and that I admire. Keep it up, Steve!
Hear Sibby Live in this SDPB audio from Friday's hearing (maybe two thirds in).