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 February, 2009


 Republicans Want Stimulus Money But Deny It

You Gonna Eat Them Fries?

The stimulus bill hadn’t even reached the president’s desk before a few members of congress took credit for its passage.

“Alaskan Congressman Don Young won a victory for the Alaska Native contracting program and other Alaska small businesses last night in H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” said a news release sent out by Rep. Young.

Young, by the way is a Republican. Young, by the way, is among the 176 House Republicans who voted against the stimulus. Young, by the way, thinks people who read his news releases, don’t happen to read newspapers.

Congress isn’t golf, where the low number wins. If you haven’t gotten enough votes to win, you lose – period.

Republicans, who’ve railed against the stimulus for a variety of supposedly ideological reasons, have their hands full these days.

You have to wonder how they can hold their noses with one hand while discussing the stimulus – and at the same time they hold out their other hand for stimulus money.

"I applaud President Obama's recognition that high-speed rail should
be part of America's future," said Rep. John Mica of Florida. In case you wonder, he too is a Republican who voted against the stimulus.

But like Young, Mica has to face constituents who are curious about how their political philosophy may have gotten in the way of their own dinner tables.

Certainly the brand new administration and the ever-strengthening Democratic congress knew this would happen. That Republicans, with their pre-digested arguments about “careless spending” would eventually return to districts populated by people who just may benefit from the very package they voted against.

Curses foiled again.

Yet some Republican governors have greater priorities than their own inclination to politically posture.
Charlie Crist of Florida and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California are two Republican governors who supported the stimulus plan – and without the least bit of hesitation.

Their states are just two of the 46 that face budget shortfalls. Yet, Crist, a staunch supporter of John McCain’s candidacy, has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Pres. Obama on the subject of stimulus money.

In fact, most of the 22 Republican governors are toning down their objections to the stimulus, in favor of standing on line to get stimulus money.

Schwarzenegger says he’d welcome stimulus money from states that don’t accept theirs with the same eagerness of somebody asking, “Are you gonna eat them fries?”

Enter Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Republicans keep mentioning him as their possible presidential savior in 2012.
Within a week, he’s proven he’s not quite ready for prime time.

Last Sunday, he was among the Republican governors who fanned out across the morning talk shows and blasted the stimulus plan. He even indicated he wasn’t going to accept the proceeds of it.

Yet that was a ruse. Louisiana’s share of the stimulus will be $3.8 billion. Despite his whiney public objections to it, Jindal says he’ll accept all but $98 million of it.

That’s the money that would be set aside for extended unemployment payments.

So, while this supposed presidential aspirant stands on his “principals” against those free spending Democrats, 24,981 unemployed Louisianans may suffer.
Jindal, with his distinct lack of understanding that people who need their unemployment benefits extended would be more apt to spend their money immediately than any others in the general population, has painted himself into a corner.

There was some hope he could rebound. On Tuesday night, he was called on to give the Republican response to Pres. Obama’s speech before congress.
Obama brought the house down, because he seemed quite at home painting a picture of this country as vividly as anything you could ever find in a Normal Rockwell illustration.

Like Rockwell, he crafted images with words - that may have been a bit idealized - but you could still easily discern an America united in our common goals.
When it was Jindal’s turn, he answered Obama’s Rockwell with what may have well been an etch-a-sketch, drawing a stick figure that had one hand on its nose and the other reaching out for stimulus money.

Edward A. Owens of Uniontown is Webmaster of “Red Raider Nation: Where Champions Live.” E-mail him at freedoms@bellatlantic.net