A couple years ago, Ron Paul went on Meet the Press and was grilled by the late Tim Russert about earmarks he'd inserted into an appropriations bill. Isn't it hypocritical, Russert asked, for a libertarian to push for pork? No, Paul explained, if the government will not give the money back to the people in the form of tax cuts, then it should go back to them in some form. The system is not perfect, but a good representative works within it to benefit his constituents.
Such is the case of Ron Johnson. The Oshkosh plastics manufacturer is getting pummeled by the Feingold campaign and its blogosphere allies for accepting government-backed loans for his business in the early 80's. According to Feingold, it is hypocritical for an opponent of the federal stimulus package to accept government aid. Democrats will likely also go after Johnson for looking into stimulus funds for the Oshkosh Opera House, whose board he sat on.
In the ongoing effort to portray Johnson as an out-of-touch elitist, who accepts welfare for himself but denies it to others, the charge the Dems are making will probably have the desired effect. However, the accusation is wrongheaded.
There is nothing wrong about expecting a return on the taxes one pays. There are plenty of conservatives who would prefer to do away with public education and social security, but they're not hypocrites for sending their kids to the schools their taxes finance or accepting the pensions they have funded their entire careers.
What is dumb is the Tea Party-fueled anti-stimulus grandstanding that Scott Walker and others have made at the expense of their constituents. In that case, the leader is specifically keeping his constituents' taxes in the hands of the government, rather than in the form of jobs or vital services.