Bunning’s Last Stand

March 2nd, 2010 at 4:31 pm | 18 Comments |

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God knows we need to cut government spending, but Sen. Jim Bunning sure has picked a hell of a bill to make his point.  Two weeks, Bunning blocked consideration of a bill that would extend unemployment and health benefits for many Americans.  The White House responded today by calling Senator Jim Bunning’ s actions “irrational.” For once, the administration is right.

And now Republican leaders, led by Senator Susan Collins are trying to end the embarrassment.  According to the New York Times report on the Collins attempt to end the standoff:

Ms. Collins, who took the floor shortly after the Senate convened, said her effort was being made on “behalf of numerous members of the Republican caucus who have expressed concerns to me.”

“There are 500 Mainers whose benefits expired on Sunday,” Ms. Collins said. But Mr. Bunning, her colleague, continued to lodge his objection.

The effort by a Republican to end Mr. Bunning’s fight showed that the intensifying dispute has become a serious distraction in the Senate and a political liability for Republicans.

“I don’t know how you negotiate with the irrational,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, told reporters at an informal morning briefing. “I don’t know how you prevent one person who decides they hold in the palm of their hand the livelihood of hundreds of thousands who have lost their jobs.”

The White House spokesman’s criticism was couched in unusually strong language at a time when the administration is trying to be seen as searching for bipartisan comity.

There is a fine line between principled and irresponsible, and Senator Jim Bunning flew by it fifteen days ago. Senator Bunning, and Senator Bunning alone is blocking a bill that would extend expiring unemployment and health benefits for 30 days. That’s right. Jim Bunning and Jim Bunning alone has held up the bill for a month because as he says “If we can’t find $10 billion to pay for it, we’re not going to pay for anything.”

What originally seemed like a reasonable attempt to make a point to his colleagues about the need to deal with the deficit has begun to look like a bitter, irrational tirade by an out of touch Senator. Bunning’s hissy fit is threatening transportation projects and the Department of Transportation said that Bunning’s “stand” forced it to furlough 2,000 workers yesterday.

Bunning isn’t wrong that the government can’t keep spending like drunken sailors. He is absolutely right about that. But for Bunning to be doing this now is insane and it’s hypocritical. It’s insane because the extension of benefits is intended to assist thousands of individuals that lost their jobs which raises questions about whether Bunning has any sympathy at all. And it’s hypocritical because frankly Bunning was nowhere to be found when Republicans were in power and cutting taxes while spending was going through the roof.

Moreover, Bunning’s stand is giving Democrats the opportunity to do what they’ve wanted to do for so long: portray Republicans as obstructionist, unhelpful and unconcerned with the pain being felt by the American people. Currently, Democrats are compiling state-by-state lists of the impact of the Senate impasse. And on this, they aren’t wrong. One man single-handedly standing between the entire Senate and action is obstructionist, and doing it for 30 days when workers need the help is morally questionable.

Bunning’s stand needs to stop. If he doesn’t, unemployment pay will literally stop reaching tens of thousands of Americans. And if it does, who do you think they are going to vote for?

This is absurd politically and absurd morally. It just needs to stop. This isn’t touting responsible spending habits, it is on the other hand an example of irresponsible governing. Cut it out, Senator.

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18 Comments so far ↓

  • JeninCT

    Robert Gibbs said: ““I don’t know how you negotiate with the irrational. I don’t know how you prevent one person who decides they hold in the palm of their hand the livelihood of hundreds of thousands who have lost their jobs.”

    He could’ve been talking about his boss.

    Right or wrong, Bunning is making a point that needs to be made: Spending needs to stop and when it stops someone is not going to get their check. Just ask Chris Christie how well he’s being received in NJ.

    And besides, the Democrats don’t need a reason to portray the Republicans as obstructionist, unhelpful and unconcerned with the pain being felt by the American people. They were doing that long before this latest incident with Bunning.

  • jreb

    Agreed JeninCT, all Bunning is doing is asking where are the budget cuts that will pay for these appropriations as President Obama stated in February…”..we have to continue to go through the budget line by line, looking for ways to save..”..”..We have to cut where we can, to afford what we need..”.

  • teabag

    Let em starve is the Republicans response. They are only interested in the Children’s welfare before they are born. After not so much. So Bunning is a completely irrational piece of crap.

    Vote against a commission to oversee spending and reducing the deficit, vote against the paygo rules then filibuster help to people who are hurting. Shameful, and it’s no surprise the first to comment on this shame is Jeninct the Frum Forum’s Liz Cheney. Despicable attitude as usual.

  • franco 2

    Who cares what they think, they are bigots. Call them on that. Why is it that ONE Republican is used to attack ALL Republicans? Hmmm? And you Jeb G, fall for it. This is called a SMEAR. Did they define that word/concept for you in Georgetown or wherever you went for your supposed education? We are presented here with another naval-gazing Republican soo concerned with what Democrats say about Republicans. He’s skittish about one old coot that actually has a point. Newsflash Jeb. Unemployment runs out eventually and the rest of us who pay taxes, but are INELIGIBLE for unemployment (self employed) are not ,nor should not, be obligated to fund other people willy nilly just because they “need” it. I need my money too. Are you really siding with the communists here?

    If so, you are a default Socialist who fancies himself a Republican. The combination of those two ideologies leads inevitably to Fascism.

    But nevermind that. It doesn’t matter what Robert Byrd says or Al Franken or any number of pathetic Democrats who run roughshod over the rights of ordinary Americans. They don’t count for little wimpy Jeb here. He won’t attack, only defend. Only accept the other sides premise and then lose the argument. You are naive and unskilled in politics, ignorant, actually and unaware of how your opposition operates. Pathetic.

  • balconesfault

    The Republicans pretty much forced Bunning into resignation, the Party signaling that they’d support a primary challenge if he ran for re-election. In short, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t feel he owes anyone squat right now, so he might as well stick to what he thinks a matter of principle, bad publicity for Republicans be damned.

  • franco 2

    Who cares how many DOT people are laid off? I could give a shit. Lay off more of them. Lay off 20% of the government workers. I promise they won’t be missed.

  • GOProud

    BlankHead exports a DailyKos/Democrat Underground lie to FF with “The Republicans pretty much forced Bunning into resignation”.

    In your dreams, baby.

    Bunning spent the last 6 years flat on his ass avoiding any effort to raise campaign funds for a second reelection bid and 3rd term. He tried last year to pressure Sen GOP CC for $$$, but the ol’ saw is that Sen GOP CC funds are to recruit and support challengers and open seats, not incumbents who failed to do the tough work needed to retain the seat.

    No one “forced” Bunning into resigning. He’s a tough, crusty former Detroit Tiger pitcher and has enough ego to fill the Senate well on any day.

    Trey Grayson, the former Democrat, specifically said he wouldn’t run as a primary challenger to Jim. Once Bunning endorsed Grayson, it’s pretty much a slam dunk for the GOP to retain the seat –moving it from a “toss-up” attribution to a GOP leaning seat in the eyes of most political pundits.

    Maybe you should put down the DailyKos briefings and talking points, BlankHead. Stupidity doesn’t become you.

  • JeninCT

    teabag wrote: “Vote against a commission to oversee spending and reducing the deficit, ”

    Gee, I thought CONGRESS was supposed to oversee spending and reduce the deficit.

    “vote against the paygo rules then filibuster help to people who are hurting.”

    Paygo rules? Why do you think he didn’t want the extension – no way to pay for it!

    ” … and it’s no surprise the first to comment on this shame is Jeninct the Frum Forum’s Liz Cheney. ”

    Thanks for the compliment.

  • teabag

    ” … and it’s no surprise the first to comment on this shame is Jeninct the Frum Forum’s Liz Cheney. ”

    Thanks for the compliment.

    Not really,

    Liz Cheney is a clone of her Father, Ugly, Mean spirited, a serial liar, out for her own ends and screw anyone else, defender of the indefensible.

    How any man could live with you or her is beyond me.

  • teabag

    The Senate has passed stopgap legislation to extend help for the jobless and keep federal highway dollars flowing. The 78-19 vote came after a GOP senator who was single-handedly holding up the legislation finally relented under withering assaults by Democrats and dwindling support within his own party.

    So after the disgrace of Bunning preventing help for the unemployed the measure passes 78-19. This is a joke.

  • JeninCT

    teabag wrote: “the measure passes 78-19. This is a joke.”

    I agree. Bunning wanted it paid for with stimulus money. Why is that too much to ask? I guess “Paygo ”
    was just more empty rhetoric from the Obama administration. The 78 who voted for it should be ashamed.

  • JeninCT

    teabag wrote: “Liz Cheney is a clone of her Father…. How any man could live with you or her is beyond me.”

    I would imagine so.

  • SFTor1

    When you hear all the “can’t affords” on this thread you might think the financial meltdown and the resulting recession wasn’t such a good thing after all.

    What do you say? Should we regulate those banker boys?

  • franco 2

    “Bunning’s stand needs to stop. If he doesn’t, unemployment pay will literally stop reaching tens of thousands of Americans. And if it does, who do you think they are going to vote for?”

    They are going to vote for Democrats as usual. You can’t buy votes Jeb. Someone preaching “morals” should know better. What a maroon!

  • GOProud

    TeaBagged weaves like a drunken Brit sailor on shore leave: “The 78-19 vote came after a GOP senator who was single-handedly holding up the legislation finally relented under withering assaults by Democrats and dwindling support within his own party.”

    Not really, LieBoi. You didn’t steep long enough, it seems. Let’s put your lies into some hot water.

    The Democrat leadership could have stopped Sen Bunning at any point. They chose not to and, after spending 10 months as America’s Favorite Pinata, the Sen Dems wanted someone else to take a few hits. Bunning –as lame a duck as there ever was– served up the opportunity.

    When even CNN yesterday began reporting that the Sen Dems could have moved on this fake filibuster as early as last Thursday, the Senate Dem leadership decided to act. The vote came 7 hours later –when you’re the Sen Dems and CNN is pissing on your parade, you better move fast.

    In fact, Sen Dem Communications Office staff worked with ABC News slash-gotcha reporter Dana Bash (her dad was a legendary CNN liberal slimebag) to get Bunning on tape and angry at the intrusion she and her slash-gotcha team represented. They did. The liberal MSM aired it endlessly on loop. But it’s a small win for the Sen Dems because even the MSM saw through the ruse of their cynical gamesmanship.

    I wonder what AngryGrampaReid would say if a FoxNews slash-gotcha reporter cornered him in a Senate corridor, thwarted his effort to get to the Sen floor for business and asked him: “Senator Reid, you could have stopped Bunning’s stunt a week ago. Why did you cause such anguish and unnecessary worry for unemployed workers when you could have fixed it for them easily?”

    The Obami prove, once again, they’re in it for political advantage and will toss even unemployed workers under their Obama Bus if it helps them slide further down the road.

    Shameless. Like you, TeaBagged.

  • Kanzeon

    Bunning taking another principled stand:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7SVEvAyp4M

  • teabag

    MIGoproudindependent is Paranoid again, take your meds like a good boy, Not Boi

  • GOProud

    No need for meds, TeaBagged. You’re the guy on the hot seat around here with thread after thread calling for your ban.

    Nothing paranoid in stating the truth behind Bunning’s stunt and the Sen Dem’s willingness to let him take a few hits on the chin, cause some anguish for poor unemployed workers and, when CNN reporting started to echo my truthful sentiments, the Sen Dems and White House cynics got the bill signed in a flash.

    No paranoia, TeaBagged. But it’s clear the vultures are circling your rotting corpse these days.

    Time to reinvent yourself?