Tales from the Trail

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. 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.

U.S. senator seeks details of Geithner’s ‘colorful language,’ gets nowhere


U.S. Senator Jim Bunning asked a Treasury Department official the question other lawmakers had avoided at a banking committee hearing on Wednesday — so, what about that profanity-laced tirade by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner?

Assistant Treasury Secretary Michael Barr, on hand to testify about credit rating agencies, played down the drama of Geithner’s widely reported “conversation” on Friday with regulators who were refusing to toe the Obama administration’s financial reform line.

Barr said he attended the meeting in question, where sources said Geithner used expletives in urging cooperation from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and others.