Wild Pitch : Jim Bunning Plays the Fool

Graphic by Larry Ray, with apologies to the horse. We ran this image with Larry’s March 13, 2009, Rag Blog story about Jim Bunning — but we couldn’t resist using it again.

Jim Bunning of Kentucky:
Completely batty his last time at bat

By Larry Ray / The Rag Blog / March 2, 2010

Since last Friday, Senator Jim Bunning has singlehandedly halted a measure to extend emergency unemployment benefits and health coverage for hundreds of thousands of Americans. This is nothing new for Bunning. He made Time magazine’s list of the worst senators, and refused to return to Kentucky to debate his opponent, instead doing it from Washington, where it was later learned he had used a teleprompter for the debate.

We had an article about him last March when he ranted, raved and berated Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner during Senate hearings [“Republican Buffoon Bunning: Another Shameful Show].

His ego-driven, unreasonable grandstanding stunt has already caused more than 2,000 DOT workers to be laid off, with countless other layoffs and losses spiraling upward because of highway and other transportation projects being halted.

After eight years of George W. Bush taking America from a $280 billion surplus to a $13 trillion national debt with no GOP opposition, Bunning, like the crazy old uncle, popped up from the back benches of the Senate and righteously proclaimed, “We cannot keep adding to the debt. It’s over $14 trillion and going up fast.” And exercising a rarely used Senate procedure he stopped the bill in its tracks, demanding: “If we can’t find $10 billion to pay for it, we’re not going to pay for anything.”

It is clear Bunning is totally out of touch with Americans facing today’s tough times because he has dug in his heels, oblivious to continuing calls for him to reconsider. Even moderate Republican Senator, Susan Collins has tried to no avail to get her fellow Senator to relent. Bunning pouts and stubbornly revels in his ability to take one last power stand as a U.S. Senator. Crazy and inappropriate as it may be.

Ultra conservative and equally obtuse South Carolina GOP Senator, Jim DeMint, has jumped in praising Bunning’s irrational stand, telling the world that those opposing Bunning’s damaging and ill conceived stunt are “hypocritical.”

You might remember DeMint as part of the Washington D.C. “C Street Family” conservative prayer group who prayed along with disgraced So. Carolina Governor Sanford, and for his extreme conservative reactions to most everything including nixing transportation funds for bicycle, walking, or wilderness trails.

We are getting a fine midyear election preview of Republican leadership, or lack thereof. More disturbing than the senile rants of outgoing Senator Jim Bunning is that GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who forced Bunning to step down at the end of this year and not run again, will not now step in again and make Bunning just sit down and shut up. . . for the good of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

As I observed one year ago, “Bunning is clearly old, cranky and may be exhibiting early senile dementia. He also may still be living in some reverie from his days as a major league baseball pitcher dating back to the 1950’s. But even back then the only good thing many Cardinals fans remember that Jim Bunning ever did was blowing the 1964 pennant for the Phillies, so the Cardinals could come from six games back and win.”

Halting essential emergency assistance to America’s jobless and stopping vital work across America in these tough times is no game. Senator Bunning’s time at bat again shows him swinging wildly and striking out.

The only good thing about Jim Bunning is, like the old horses from his state of Kentucky, he will soon be put out to pasture. He finally relented this evening allowing the emergency bill to go to a vote and to President Obama for his signature. Now his party’s leaders need to take him to the barn and leave him there till the end of his term.

[Retired journalist Larry Ray is a Texas native and former Austin television news anchor. He also posts at The iHandbill.]

The Rag Blog

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3 Responses to Wild Pitch : Jim Bunning Plays the Fool

  1. Brother Jonah says:

    More people out of work, more people losing their health care benefits, their savings, their homes,..

    The “I got mine, too bad about yours” routine is wearing thinner with each new layoff. The numbers are starting to tilt far far away from the Right. Each person who is cast off by their side, increases the lead against them by two. like this,
    100 on each side. 1 is pushed by economic devastation from the Employed, I got Mine smug side to the ones are in desperation. that makes it 99 to 101. Increased by two.Another one pushed off, the lead is now 102 to 98. The lead increased by another 2. And so forth.

    When we talk percentage points of Americans, 1% = 3 MILLION. Each 1% increase in joblessness or pushes the gap wider. and wider. and Wider.

    The Republicans say smugly, “how’s that Change working out for you?” knowing full well that there’s been no change, because every attempt at change has been blocked. So, it’s STILL their system failing. Not Liberalism since liberal progressive change has been blocked. It’s still “free” market capitalism still in free-fall.

    The Republican Party might think that Americans are too damned stupid to realize that. How Very Elitist of them.

    Perhaps the R leaders are starting to count how few they have left, their vote pool shrinking while the left increases. There’s another important issue they’ll have to face before 21012. The bonds GW had issued in lieu of a tax hike. Especially with the war-for-profit he fully intended to start before he was installed in office through a rigged election. Those are bonds that will have to be paid back, with interest. The interest on them will be tax-free or so low taxed that it might as well be free money for the investors in the Daddy WarBucks scheme.
    More of the R party faithful are going to realize that the tax “decreases” that were funded by this deficit spending scam were phantom savings. And they’ll have to pay it back, with interest. With a shrinking tax base because so many more are out of work, and so far the Very Rich Bastards who’ve had the Tax Breaks given to them by Bush, and Bush the Elder, And Reagan,… haven’t had those tax breaks rescinded.

    The shrinking middle class will be left holding the bills for Bush’s Wars.

    At that point the Right Wing vote bloc will be in full hemorrhage. If progressives can’t harvest those votes then Radicals will.

    The R’s hate to admit it but in the Great Depression Franklin Roosevelt pulled their collective nutsack out of the fire.

    America was facing the same kind of political radicalism that ushered in Fascism and Nazism in Western Europe. Those who lived it, and were old enough to have clear memories of it, are in their 90s now.

    Time to brace ourselves. It’s another make-or-break moment for democracy.

  2. Brother Jonah says:

    Typo. That was supposed to be “2012”.

    Hitting two keys at once. Jim Bunning was doing as he was originally told. Way back when the R Leaders still believed that a vast economic disaster and a failure of any recovery and reform would be seen as a failure of Democracy,

    I think they’re starting to smell death in the air. It didn’t help them any when the Health Insurance corporations and investment banks started to behave like they were untouchable, with reform being pronounced dead a little bit too prematurely.

  3. Perhaps the R leaders are starting to count how few they have left, their vote pool shrinking while the left increases Not sure what news source your citing. Obama and his admin are in ratings free fall as voters and potential voters flee the insanity and demand a stop to the experiment they started in Nov 2008.

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