Bunning pitches fit, Republican team uncertain how to play it

March 2, 2010

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. BASEBALL/

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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Photo credit: Reuters/Ray Stubblebine (Bunning throws ceremonial first pitch in 2008)


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Leading Republicans aren’t denouncing him — they’re encouraging him.

This is the modern Republican Party? In an election year?

For his part, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Filibuter), Bunning’s fellow Senator from Kentucky, was asked repeatedly this morning whether Bunning’s tantrum was defensible. McConnell refused to answer.

No “Profile in Courage” award for you, Mitch.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

Must be nice not to have to collect unemployment, which you contribute to from taxes pulled from you paycheck.
that’s why it’s called uneploymnet insurance. You use it only when you need too.
Our elected officials don’t seem to understand that, maybe in Novemeber they will, but don’t count on it, thye all are padding their accounts with lobbyist money!

Posted by osito3 | Report as abusive