February 6, 2009

Generational Theft

When I saw the laundry list of South Dakota projects that could be funded with the latest proposed "stimulus" package, I felt that surely this scenario was being played out in states all across the country. States that have mis-managed and overspent their budgets -- most far worse than South Dakota -- will jump at this lifeline to save them from their bad practices.

I wanted to opine about it, but when I saw Senator Tom Coburn's (R-OK) essay in the Wall Street Journal the other day, I knew he said it better and with greater knowledge than those of us outside the beltway who are, therefore, more blissfully ignorant of the details surrounding most federal shenanigans.

When I was managing the public television station in Tulsa back in the early 1980s, Tom Coburn was in school, pursuing a new career. He'd already established himself as a successful businessman when he made a life-changing decision to pursue medicine.

Coburn's political stripes may be a different color than those of the late Mike Synar, his congressional predecessor from Oklahoma's 2nd district. But their common sense approach to tough issues has an abiding universal appeal. A Democrat, Synar seemed to have boundless energy and great integrity. For many Oklahomans -- including transplants like me -- Mike Synar was a source of inspiration and hope. Synar's career was cut far too short by a brain tumor in 1996. He was just 45 years old.

Coburn's appeal for common sense has struck a chord in many of us. Some have branded him "radical," and there's probably some truth to that. After all, while most of his Senate colleagues rush to pass a massive "stimulus" package of about one TRILLION dollars, he has been a potent voice of opposition. He's right, it really is a case of grand generational theft.

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