Well, depends on who you ask.
To a few on the right — and your humble blogger — Bunning did something in the last week that few have actually dared to do: temporarily slow the inevitable march of the Federal spending machine. That dapper young righty (no pun intended, but still) in the picture had the Senate logjammin’ with a filibuster over a $10 billion dollar spending bill.
The angry man of the Senate was at it again.Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, a 78-year-old Hall of Fame pitcher, played hardball on Capitol Hill, single-handedly holding up a $10 billion spending bill because it would add to the deficit.
Oh, the horror. Damn you, “angry man,” for daring to stop the most excellent bread and circuses that have come to town. Don’t you know that the Democrats are actively engaged in spending our way out of debt?
It takes a bit of slogging to get the general gist of what Bunning was so worked up about, because by my count there are around 20 paragraphs explaining just exactly how big of an a##hole Jim Bunning is. Words such as ornery, cantankerous, possessing an “ungovernable mouth,” his “cursing” at reporters, and giving an ABC producer the finger. Bunning is also described as “toxic,” and in the throes of “his last hurrah.” Mention is also made that Bunning has been referred to as “mentally unstable.” Robert Gibbs, the spit-flecked penny whistle of the Obama administration, even made mention that you can’t “negotiate with the irrational.”
Do you think the AP might be trying to lead you, the reader, just a little bit?
All of these descriptive sentences go on and on until we reach something of an explanation as to what’s happening:
He had been holding up the spending bill since Thursday, saying he objected because it requires borrowing money. Bunning proposed to pay for the extension with unspent money from last year’s big economic recovery package, but Democrats objected.
By the Senate’s rules, that single objection was enough to block the bill, at least temporarily.
The move had forced some 2,000 federal employees into unpaid furloughs, put jobless benefits in jeopardy for millions and halted more than 40 highway projects.
The absolute horror of it all. For one week he has held all of this stuff up, and temporarily. It’s amazing that the Republic could withstand the onslaught of a 78-year old former Major Leaguer.
It may be convenient for me, a rather milquetoast libertarian, to point out that Republicans are… y’know, supposed to be in favor of fiscal restraint and all. But in the Roaring 2010, it might also benefit the constituents of other Republicans (I’m looking at a few in particular here) to take note of that whole fiscal restraint thing as well.
“He’s hurting the American people,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said when asked Tuesday if Bunning was hurting the Republican Party.
Anyone here from Maine? Please vote against this woman at your earliest opportunity, please.
I don’t think that Jim Bunning probably cares what anyone much says about him at this point, as surely he will not seek re-election. The number of Senators who have blown billions or even trillions of dollars of taxpayer money on frivolity and pork are legion. Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd were and have been retained well past their natural shelf lives, thanks to their ability to catch money with dump trucks rather than buckets, but have generally been lionized in their golden years. Lucky for those two old-timers that they never tried to get in the way of setting up the circus tents.
Byrd was a notorious ass in his salad days, not to mention a generally despicable racist. Ted Kennedy goes without saying. But Jim Bunning? He took too long in line at the ATM.
We’ll all live to spend another day, folks. Bunning has ended his filibuster. The spending of new money over some other money can resume apace.
My inbox today featured this gem from my dad:
For those that did know and forgot and those that have never known and never cared: Bunning was 10-15 against the Yankees and 24-15 against the Senators. (Circa 1955-1963) And 1-0 vs Senators 2010.