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Jindal vs. Crist: Republican governors at war over Obama stimulus package -- a preview of 2012?

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Putting conservative ideology -- or their political ambitions -- ahead of their states' immediate financial needs, a handful of Republican governors are toying with the idea of turning down the money offered in President Obama's $787-billion stimulus package.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, in an interview with WWLTV in New Orleans, said the package may come with too many strings from the Feds. Under the plan, Louisiana, facing a $1.6-billion budget shortfall next year, would get $3.8 billion in funds for Medicaid, public education and bridge and road repair.

We'll have to review each program, each new dollar to make sure that we understand what are the conditions, what are the strings and see whether it's beneficial for Louisiana to use those dollars.

Jindal, tapped to give the GOP response to Obama's Address to Congress next week, is widely considered one of the contenders in the Republican Party's 2012 presidential sweepstakes.

Which sets up a nice contrast with Florida's Gov. Charlie Crist, who welcomed Obama to the Sunshine State last week as the president was out campaigning for the package and embraced the stimulus, saying, "This is not about partisan politics. It's about rising above that, helping the American people and reigniting our economy."

Crist, who was on John McCain's short list for vice president before the Arizona senator picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, is also said to be eyeing a race for the White House.

Jindal is not the only Republican governor wary of taking the federal money. "My concern is there's going to be commitments attached to it that are a mile long," said Texas Gov. Rick Perry. "We need the freedom to pick and choose. And we need the freedom to say, 'No thanks.' "

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney must be sorry he's not still governor of Massachusetts, the better to rail against federal spending.

But Democrats inserted language in the stimulus plan that will make it difficult for any governor to actually say no. Under the bill, state Legislatures can override the governors.

So, what's a little political posturing between friends?

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-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Getty Images

 
Comments () | Archives (17)

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What a sad state of affairs when governors choose to put their careers ahead of the people they are representing. What a lot of empty grandstanding. If I were a voter for that state, I would be sure to remember how little governor jindall thought of the people he represents. He is definitely NOT a self sacrificing kind of guy. He is just playing political games in a time where men of courage are tested. I say Governor Jindall is failing miserably. Wake up and smell the coffee voters!

I am so proud of you Mr Jindal . For not accepting that tainted money. So So proud of you Sir.

If Texas and Louisiana don't want the cash, Minnesota would love to extend its light rail network.

Audrey must not be from Louisiana. Last I checked our state needed hundreds of millions more to finish the recovery. Forget strings - think about those who need.

BJ sure sounds like his priorities are right; clean up his state, long a challenger to BHO's Illinois as the nastiest. Hold the feds at an arms length, and even if it turns out to be merely symbolic because of the way the dems wrote this unread bill, at least he isn't leading the way to the feds trough. The more support he gets for his cleanup, the more his opportunity to extend it. Perhaps he can return us to the rule of law, and away from the mob rule the dems have put upon us. Run, Bobby, run !

LA Times,
once again, you publish garbage, biased rhetoric about how the Republican governors are posturing and selfish and ignoring the needs of their constituents. In reality, the unfunded commitments that will be attached to a lot of the stimulus money will grow state government almost permanently, putting more people on the state welfare dole. The states do not need more financial commitments for the future, especially when this federal money (printed & borrowed by the way) will run dry over the next few years. Bobby Jindal would be a fool to take some of this tainted stimulus money. F%$^ oBAMA and the LA Times (liberal media bias at its finest!).

When did anyone get to read this package? How can anyone say for sure that they'll accept the money or anything else that is in it when no one knows much about it. 1075 pages given to the congress and senate just hours before the vote. What a joke. Talk about waking up and smelling the coffee. How about waking up and removing the hands that are now around our necks choking the life out of freedom.

what exactly are you proud of Audrey?

that the deserving citizens of LA should not get the benefits they need to keep their head above water in these trying times?

There is nothing in the stimulus requiring a permanent change to LA state law - Jindal is taking a position a few days before appearing on MEET the PRESS and giving the rep response to Pres Obama on Tues night

The State Legislature of LA will override him anyway and they can write a law that the stimulus benefits expire when the federal gov money runs out in three years- costing the state of LA nothing

That's three years of food and medicine for people who need it

This is a pure political ploy and shameless of someone who was electing to protect his citizenry

proud indeed
Bobby Jindal sadly has turned out to be the worst ideologue of all
A true believer and completely wrong

At least we know Rush and Hannity only do it for the money

Republican's empty rhetoric on working with the president was seen in the recent work on the stimulus package. Come on Republicans and join in and help. All you've done is criticize on come up with nothing but tax cuts in a budget crises you mostly made. Tax cuts? Are you kidding?

Learn a new song or try to add something of substance to the public debate. It is easy to by a nay sayer and harder to provide a potential solution.

No one is feeling sorry for the states that don't accept the stimulus money. Look at Jindal's state and you'll see why he surely is not presidential material. In fact why in the heck would you vote for someone who doesn't use his real name!
These clowns will do anything the RNC and GOP leadership tells them. Jindal, Sanford, et.al are zombies who will suck up and do whatever the national so-called "leadership team" tells them to do, even if it means cannibalizing their own citizens. Funny, I thought it was the latter who voted them in!!

Excuse me! What are the constitutional requirments to be President? Where were Jindal's parents born?
Is he eligible? Now--let's see if Obama is a resident or president.

I live in Louisiana, voted for Gov. Jindal and will vote for him again in any elective office he runs for. I think that he is doing a wonderful job serving the constituents of Louisiana. He is not putting his own personal career ahead of the people. He is simply looking down the road and trying to protect the people from the fallout of these false props that the democrats are using to try to prop up the broken economy. It will surely fall and Gov Jindal doesn't want to be responsible for causing those whom he serves and represents to feel the full effect of such fallout. Everyone should really look into the fine print of this stimulus package. Don't take it at face value. It's full of suprises.

"If I were a voter for that state, I would be sure to remember how little governor jindall thought of the people he represents."

Lousiana currently has the best governor in the histiry of the state. Instead of selling his states rights for a share of the greed (like many other states are doing), he refuses to be bought. The last thing louisiana needs right now is more goverment mandates. As a louisiana voter I am glad he has the guts to stand up to the current administration who seems to have no priority other than spemding as much money as they possibly can.

Obama would spend a trillion dollars a month if he got the chance. Make sure to thank your kids since they will pay the bill (or at least be stuck with a bill they can't pay) for this spending frenzie we are on.

Socialism is defined as a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating public or state ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equal opportunities for all individuals. Therefore socialists advocate the creation of a society in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly.

This administrations attempt to nationalize the banks and health care go against everything this country have stood for.

"Jindal, you're doing a heck of a job." Does that sound famaliar. For the life of me I can"t see why you all would elect a republican governor. He's Palins replacement. You are getting your just dues. GET OUT AN VOTE. Thank God the rest of america didn't elect Mccain and Palin. I have nightmares with OSCAR THE ECONOMY FIXER with his tool belt hard at work in the Whitehouse. Thank God it's only a nightmare.

this not the time for posturing jindal is wrong lousiana cannot afford to lose right now. the money for those levees were sent to iraq.. one thing however he had all the republican talking points down pat. instead of thinking of running for president he should think how he will hold the state of lousiana.
if you think the country is having a hard time accepting a black man in the white house what do think they will feel about an indian?

The extent to which you republicans have bought into your parties self serving hype just astounds me. They are not your friend or ally. When they are speaking to you - "You/we need tax cuts to fix this", "the bill is full of ear marks and special interest monies", they are NOT speaking to you. Unless, that is, you earn over 2.5 million a year. Tax cuts only apply to the wealthiest. Is a $600 check really going to fix the problems in your life?! Or would a job with a decent wage work a little better?? Do you really believe in trickle down economics?! They do. IT DOES NOT WORK! It is the reason we are in this mess!! Read the bill please. YOU are NOT the constituency he is speaking to!! Read all the legislation and learn how things work for yourself..PLEASE.

Actually, Jindal is putting common sense ahead of Obama's socialist ideology. By refusing the porkulus money, he is refusing to commit to expanded handout programs and saving taxpayer dollars for future needs.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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