PUTTING A HUMAN FACE ON GOP NEO-HOOVERISM…. During President Obama’s address to Congress last month, he pointed to Ty’Sheoma Bethea, a young girl in South Carolina whose school is falling apart. Bethea, who sat next to the First Lady, had written a letter to Congress.

“Bethea has been told that her school is hopeless, but the other day after class she went to the public library and typed up a letter to the people sitting in this room. She even asked her principal for the money to buy a stamp. The letter asks us for help, and says, ‘We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself and one day president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina but also the world. We are not quitters.’”

The good news is, the economic recovery package included money for schools. The bad news is, Mark Sanford is Ty’Sheoma Bethea’s governor, and he wants to turn down $700 million in federal stimulus funds — money that would go towards education in South Carolina.

Ali Frick noted this fairly devastating report on CNN last night, which considers the implications of Sanford’s decision. (If you can’t watch clips from your work computer, the transcript is online.)

Now, I suspect a conservative watching this would consider it a hit-job on Sanford. Though the CNN piece includes multiple quotes from the governor, Sanford is clearly the villain.

But as it happens, there’s a good reason for that: he’s spectacularly wrong. Sanford wants to reject $700 million from the federal government. As a consequence, 7,500 teachers would lose their jobs (and they, in turn, would spend less money in their local economies); construction workers who might work on school repair will not get hired (and they, in turn, will not be able to spend money in their local economies); and students like Ty’Sheoma Bethea will stay in schools that are literally falling apart.

All of this, Mark Sanford believes, is the best thing for South Carolina’s economy. Is it any wonder the CNN piece makes him look like a monster?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.