I suppose many people today vaguely remember the late Bill Proxmire, Wisconsin's gadfly United States Senator, a fiscally conservative Democrat whose legendary "Golden Fleece" awards called out waste in government.
I remember Prox for many things but the one that immediately comes to mind was the reponse he gave when someone pointed out that poor states like Mississippi got a helluva lot more money back from Washington than Wisconsin.
Prox didn't miss a beat. He scolded the man, pointing out that Wisconsin doesn't get as much money back from Washington because we didn't need it -- our economy was a lot healthier than Alabama or Mississippi.
That was then. This is now.
Now the sunbelt states have growing economies, more jobs, more trade and we seem to have an aging infrastructure, more crime and despair.
The easy way out might be to say we need more money from Washington.
They call that "pork."
But Prox would call you out, saying you can't rail against big spending and demand pork at the same time.
The real problem is growing the economy so that more tax revenue is generated to pay for government services.
But that's not going to happen if crime runs rampant in our largest city. And it's not going to happen if the scumbags in the State Capitol continue to fiddle while the state burns.
It was once said that the mark of a good politician is the ability to conceal envy while accusing the opponent of screwing the public.
We need another Prox -- and we need him ... or her ... now.