Fellow members of Gov. Rounds own party–the Republican Party–often complain about all the restrictions and safety consciousness that the Nanny Staters place or wish to place on the rest of us right thinking citizens.
Here, Gov. Rounds took away every citizens’ right to go out in to the teeth of a blizzard, get stuck, and freeze to death like people did in Nebraska and other states where far wiser governors allowed their Interstates to be open before and during the recent blizzard. Nanny Stater Mike had no one die on his watch in South Dakota because he wouldn’t let them go out and exercise their right to be stupid [Todd Epp, "Dang That Nanny Stater Gov. Rounds! He Saved Lives in the Blizzard!" Middle Border Sun via KELO, 2009.12.27].
As the storm hardly raged over Lake Herman, I had to wonder how Republicans remained so unperturbed at what felt like an over-reaction. Closing the Interstates for three days? Some friends made a trip to Brookings during the closure and found old Highway 77 up to Medary packed with motorists. Close the safest roads in the state, drive folks to the skinny backroads—not the best outcome.
Dad and I have cleared the driveway and shoveled some walks in town. Sure, it snowed a lot, but it didn't strike us as "historic" snowfall. We've moved more snow than this. We've driven to town through bigger drifts.
Travel restrictions are about as Stalinist a government restriction as you get, yet I haven't heard one conservative protest. Fascinating.
I've heard an interesting conspiracy theory: Maybe the extended Interstate closing was really a calculated budget move: work to keep the Interstate open over Christmas day, and we'd have to pay triple overtime. Why not just tell everyone to stay home?
I'll admit, if that was the real thinking behind closing the Interstates, it wasn't a bad idea. And if the Governor had just made that case—"Come on, folks: the state's short on cash, it's Christmas, businesses aren't going to be open anyway... just stay home and save money"—a lot of folks might have bought that line.
Instead, the Governor went for full-tilt fear-mongering (how many live press-conferences do we need about the weather?). Sound that alarm too often, and folks stop listening.
Last week's blizzard was half snow, half hype. At the very least, Republicans need to get honest about their views on government protecting us from our own bad decisions.