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Barack Obama is being hailed as a combination of Lincoln and FDR. The economic crisis is likened to secession and Depression.

There seems to be a consensus on what he should do – among Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, Washington and Wall Street: Spend money!

Spend billions of dollars! Trillions, even! Damn the deficit! Full stimulus ahead!

Obama says his priority will be a stimulus package so big it stuns the economy to life and creates 2.5 million jobs. That means lots of zeroes. The eventual number is going to sound like Ric Flair: W00000000000000!!

Much of that money, Obama promises, will be spent on “infrastructure.” Like roads.

Which leads us to North Carolina.

Unlike Obama, Bev Perdue has to balance the budget. But she may get a gift from Washington: a number with lots of zeroes behind it to spend on roads.

Wherein lies her dilemma: Who will decide how to spend that money?

Will it be like the $270 million Lyndo Tippett and Tony Rand steered to Fayetteville? It may be, as Tippett said, “it’s our turn.” Or it may be that Fort Bragg and the nation’s defense depend on the roads. But politics is about perception. And the perception ain’t good.

Perdue will get hammered if she appears to make a “political” choice for DOT. Marc Basnight has jinxed Lanny Wilson.

In Washington, Senator Chris Dodd is talking about an independent, bipartisan board to run an “infrastructure bank” to decide how to spend the stimulus money.

Coming up with a creative and confidence-boosting approach in North Carolina will jump-start not only the economy, but also Perdue’s term as Governor.

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