Add Perry to the list

ADD PERRY TO THE LIST…. The love/hate relationship between leading Republican officials and the Obama administration’s stimulus package has been interesting to watch lately. The same GOP leaders who railed against recovery efforts, rejected the very idea of government spending improving the economy, voted against it en masse, and even went to court in some cases to fight against trying to rescue the economy, suddenly discover they kind of like stimulus spending after all.

We’ve seen this play out with everyone from Bobby Jindal to Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor to Georgia’s Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson. It looks like we can add Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to the list.

Gov. Rick Perry rallied opposition to federal stimulus spending, but he now is the manager of one of the biggest pots of federal gold in Texas: crime grants to local law enforcement agencies.

And those grants have become an integral part of Perry’s political machine.

Perry in the past has decided what law enforcement agencies receive about $23 million a year in Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grants. Now, because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Perry will have an additional $90 million to hand out.

While Perry’s office is the conduit for the federal money, the governor chooses which agencies receive the money and how it is spent. The political payoff has been great…. Every time Perry doles out the federal Byrne grants, he sounds like the money is his.

While delivering $2 million to East Texas law enforcement, Perry said, “Texas is tough on crime and remains dedicated to equipping our law enforcement with the resources necessary to protect our citizens and ensure the safety of our communities.”

Of course, if Perry had his way, those “necessary resources” wouldn’t exist.

I’m sure if the Texas governor were willing to apologize for trashing the president’s recovery efforts, and concede that he was wrong to oppose the Obama plan, the White House would be gracious in response.