Monday, February 23, 2009

Stimulus as GOP Hopefuls' Iraq

Republican gubernatorial presidential wannabes are facing a dilemma over the Obama stimulus similar to the one that led Senate Democratic hopefuls into voting for George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq in 2001.

Just as Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Edwards et al feared retaliation at the polls in 2004 for being soft on terrorism, we now have Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin and Mark Sanford arguing against government spending in their states during a crashing economy to appease the Republican conservative base for their 2012 primary runs.

On Meet the Press, Gov. Jindal bloviated over his refusal to accept $100 million for unemployment compensation in an estimated $4 billion of aid for Louisiana: “Now is the time, and it’s a great opportunity for Republican governors and other leaders to offer conservative-based solutions to the problems.”

He was followed by Charlie Crist of Florida, whose ambitions reach no higher than the Senate in 2010, saying, “There is a national leader, his name is President Obama...I think we do need to be bipartisan. We need to be, in fact, nonpartisan.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose state is drowning in red ink and is ineligible by birth for running for the White House, is also more philosophical. “Even though it is against your principles or philosophy,” he notes that officeholders should be doing “what the people want you to do rather than getting stuck in your ideology.”

Voting for Iraq left a lot of Democrats scrambling to explain themselves to voters later on. No matter how the stimulus turns out for the economy, some of their Republican counterparts now may have trouble persuading even their base why it was a good idea to open their umbrellas in a financial drought when it was raining federal money.

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