Keep Your Stinking Stimulus?

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 20, 2009; 7:20 AM

I was watching Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, the other day as he turned up his nose at the Obama stimulus package.

"Are you going to take the money?" Sean Hannity asked.

"We'll find out. We've got a team that's looking through it right now," Sanford said.

He'll take the money.

And so will the other Republican governors who are making noises about telling Washington thanks but no thanks.

Sanford may say that "we tried to make a stand as best we could to this administration against what we thought was a fundamentally stupid idea that would ultimately damage the economy, damage the capitalistic system that has been the envy of the world." And the AP may report that "a handful of Republican governors are considering turning down some money from the federal stimulus package, a move opponents say puts conservative ideology ahead of the needs of constituents struggling with record foreclosures and soaring unemployment."

But can you imagine the local revolt if Sanford or one of his statehouse colleagues actually passed up tens of billions of dollars for their citizens--money for roads, schools, health care--because of a philosophical disagreement with the president?

Talk is cheap. In the end, no one will walk away from the federal funding. You read it here first.

In fact, as the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim reports, some in the party that provided zero House votes for the legislation are changing their tune:

"House Republicans, as a group, may take great pride in the goose egg they offered President Obama's stimulus package. But now the unanimous opposition is struggling to bring that money home.

"Republicans will be working hard to make sure the money they opposed ends up benefiting their home districts, highlighting the political tightrope they walk in this economic crisis. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is watching House Republicans -- and reading local media -- closely and is only too happy to highlight any happy talk about a stimulus Republicans voted against."

Sample comment: "Rep. Don Young (R-AK) put out a press release saying that he 'won a victory for the Alaska Native contracting program and other Alaska small business owners last night in H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act' . . .

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