South Carolinians owe Sen. Tom Davis a huge debt of gratitude. By filibuster and dogged determination, Davis put a stop to a higher gas tax as part of a sweeping road-repair bill.
In his marathon floor speech, Davis assured us that the state could use revenue growth and surplus funds to cover the $1.5 billion needed annually for the next 30 years.
Bless Sen. Davis’ heart for revealing the truth.
Oh, not his alternative. That’s nuts. Davis apparently believes he’s the only person in state government or the business community who can do arithmetic. His odd number-crunching isn’t that for which we should be giving thanks. It’s his political style that has been bared, exposing an important dynamic to which the electorate must pay attention:
Tom Davis’ filibuster is a warning that the libertarian philosophy isn’t so much about commitment to belief as to a dangerous my-way-or-the-highway attitude.
The libertarian ideas of smaller government, lower taxes, constitutional integrity, etc., are principles the country needs fulfilled and, I believe, most voters demand. But everything about government is negotiated. Libertarians, as demonstrated by Sen. Davis’ petulant tantrum, do not compromise. Negotiation is tantamount to defeat, and rather than mediate, they prefer no one win. Because of Sen. Davis, no one in South Carolina won.
But in a fashion, voters got something. We have learned what it would be like to have the Tom Davises of this state in leadership positions, be they county council, speaker of the House, president pro tempore of the Senate or governor. There are many opinions in the Palmetto State that are divergent, contrary, mainstream and even odd (a lot of “odd”). Often, the differences are so by mere shades rather than stark black or white. To govern the entire state, leaders must be dedicated to negotiation and compromise.
The State House is politically constipated enough as it is. To enable people who have proven to be more obstinate than governmental would freeze our state, not in the present but in the past.