A handful of Republican governors in the South, including possibly Georgia’s Sonny Perdue, are making noise about turning down a small part of the stimulus package, more or less as a protest. They’re echoing the criticism of congressional Republicans in Washington and, in cases such as Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, trying to earn points with the base in preparation for stepping onto the national stage.
Their problem, of course, is that the appeal of their approach is to the Southern base and ONLY to that base. While 68 percent of Americans approve of what Obama is doing on the economy, 59 percent disagree with congressional Republicans.
Only 33 percent — the GOP base — support the Republican approach. GOP leaders keep playing to that core group, stirring cheers and enthusiasm from their buddies as they do, but meanwhile the rest of the country ignores them and moves on.
A couple of Republican governors do understand that’s crazy.
“You know, you’ve got to go beyond just the principles. You’ve got to go and say, ‘What is right for the country right now?’,” says Arnold Schwarzenegger of Cal-ee–fornia. “I think that, if they — they should make an effort to work together and to find what is best for the people, because by derailing everything, it’s not going to help anybody, and it creates instability and insecurity.”
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who has appeared with Obama in support of the package, gets it too:
“It’s not a matter of bucking the party. It’s a matter of helping the people. I really view it as an issue what can I do that’s best for the people of Florida.”