Furor over Rounds’ flying lacks substance

Furor over Rounds' flying lacks substance
Let's get this straight:

South Dakotans elected a republican to be their governor. Republicans, traditionally, are tight with a buck. The Republican South Dakotans elected is also a pilot. The governor wants to indulge his hobby and, con-sequently save the state a few bucks by acting as co-pilot when he takes a state plane. Suddenly, this is all a big deal.

For all the hoopla recently about Gov. Mike rounds using state planes, there doesn't seem to be much substance.

Maybe he shouldn't be acting as co-pilot on some of his flights. That's a policy lawmakers can make. At some point the Legislature has got to let the governor be the governor and not try to legislate his every move.

Some criticism has been raised about the way Rounds uses state planes for personal and political use. South Dako-ta is one of six states that allows governors that kind of leeway.

To hear lawmakers from both parties tell it, however, that rule is going to change. Well, OK. But keep in mind that from what has been reported so far, those trips don't seem to have broken any rules.

Lawmakers who get incensed about the use of a state plan, even if it is properly reimbursed, don't see the irony in their complaint. These are, after all, rules written by politicians, for politicians, yet somehow they don't consider themselves to be in that class.

South Dakota is a state with a troubling budget deficit, an equally troubling racial divide, an educational system beset by financial problems, a judicial and law enforcement community woefully short of funding. Despite all of those problems, lawmakers choose to focus in clearly and with pinpoint accuracy on a governor who seems to be following all the rules when he uses state airplanes.

Maybe that's the best use of their time. And maybe it's not.

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