Bunning pitches fit, Republican team uncertain how to play it
Senator Jim Bunning has put his foot down. And his own Republican teammates are trying hard not to call a foul.
The former professional baseball player who is retiring from his Kentucky seat this year has basically decided this is where he draws the line.
If we were to mix sports metaphors, Bunning has become a football lineman — a one-man blocking machine of legislation to renew jobless benefits, highway construction and other programs that expired on Sunday night. His reasoning is that until there is a definite way to pay for the bill, he does not want to add to the debt.
His play has left Democrats hardly able to contain their glee at this unexpected political windfall — they are portraying it as the perfect example of Republicans as “the party of no” even when it comes to extending unemployment benefits in a time of economic need.
Republicans, fearful of a backlash from recession-weary voters, have been left shaking their heads and unable to forcefully express their annoyance with one of their own in this congressional election year.
Television news showed Bunning gruffly dismissing reporter questions or ignoring them. One television producer reportedly received a more symbolic gesture from the senator and an ABC television correspondent was yelled at for trying to follow the senator into a senators-only elevator.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who is the other senator from Kentucky, promised that the standoff would be resolved soon.
Jon Stewart of The Daily Show could not resist entering the game last night with some digs in a segment titled “Senate After Dark.”
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|Senate After Dark|
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Photo credit: Reuters/Ray Stubblebine (Bunning throws ceremonial first pitch in 2008)