SANTORUM’S SOUND ADVICE…. To say that Democrats are enjoying hitting Republicans on stimulus hypocrisy would be something of an understatement. The Hill noted the other day that the hypocrisy story has given Democrats their “first real traction in weeks” in going on the offensive against Republicans. “For the first time in weeks, Republicans were clearly on the defensive,” the article noted.

Local media outlets are starting to pick up on the story (see here, here, and here), and even Republican governors are starting to mock GOP lawmakers for their absurd cash-and-trash rhetoric.

This week, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) appeared on Fox News and encouraged his former colleagues to be more “cautious” on this front.

“I think the facts of the matter of what has happened after the stimulus package passed proved it hasn’t created a whole lot of jobs. But then to take money from that package and go out and do photo-ops talking about how many jobs it creates does undermine your credibility. […]

“Members of Congress having opposed this plan then running out and saying here’s money I brought home to the district — that’s not to say your district doesn’t get the money. They would whether you do the photo- op or not. But I wouldn’t be out promoting it.” [emphasis added]

On the notion that the recovery effort “hasn’t created a whole lot of jobs,” there’s ample evidence to the contrary.

But I do appreciate Santorum’s more strategic advice. Pretending to hate the stimulus, while loving stimulus funds for one’s constituents, does undermine a lawmaker’s “credibility,” so it’s best not to be out there “promoting it.” In other words: stop getting caught.

On a related note, Dems have been trying to come up with a name for these Republicans who fall into this category, something easier and more memorable than “group of Republicans who claim to oppose the stimulus but take credit for stimulus-funded projects back home,” which is a little clumsy. They seem to have come up with a pretty good one: “highway hypocrites.”

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.