Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 26, 2010

GOP'S BUNNING BLOCKS BENEFITS FOR UNEMPLOYED.... With unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies for the jobless due to expire this weekend, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed on a measure to extend the aid. The Senate was supposed to vote last night.

Sen. Jim Bunning (R) of Kentucky, who has occasionally seemed mentally unstable in recent years, had other plans.

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) launched a one-man filibuster late Thursday night against a bill with several popular provisions aimed at people hit hardest by the recession. So far, he is succeeding. [...]

Although Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill) is expected to resume attempts to pass the extensions Friday morning, Bunning has said he will continue to object, and with lawmakers gone for the weekend, there is little chance the bill will pass before Sunday.

Unless an agreement is reached today, assistance for the unemployed will run out on Sunday.

This was especially rich: "As the fight drew to a close, Mr. Bunning complained he had been ambushed by the Democrats and was forced to miss the Kentucky-South Carolina basketball game."

When one of his Democratic colleagues said it was time for Bunning to stop holding up the Senate, he reportedly said, "Tough shit."

The package also includes extensions of flood insurance, highway funding and small business loans. Bunning insisted that if the financing doesn't come from the economic recovery package, then he'll delay the process as long as possible -- regardless of the consequences.

Steve Benen 9:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (45)

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Time to fire this ass hole.

Posted by: stevio on February 26, 2010 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

So the party of "no" has morphed into the party of "tough shit"? Classy. Sounds like the ingredients for a very compelling ad campaign. Anyone know if there are any Donkeys around with the cajoles to walk this forward? No? I didn't think so.

Posted by: Chopin on February 26, 2010 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

So the Repubs are going to stick together and let THIS filibuster continue?

Posted by: martin on February 26, 2010 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

The timing Bunning chose to stop sniffing glue is stunning.

Posted by: Kevin on February 26, 2010 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

The Democrats could -- and should -- make a lot of noise about this as a classic example of how Republican obstructionism harms Americans. Not only would that be a powerful argument, but it also happens to be unequivocally plain enough for [nearly] all Americans to see and comprehend.

But do they have the PR sense to do so?

Posted by: K in VA on February 26, 2010 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

It's hard to say how much good a jobs bill can do, but the GOP indulges in toughness for ordinary people and those in difficulty, while indulging the well off.
BTW, if the article below is even partly true, things are going to get worse. I hope not, but see for yourselves:
Seeking Alpha
Seeking Alpha is not AFAICT a cranky rightist sight, but very insightful.

Posted by: Neil B on February 26, 2010 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

What a complete douchebag, it's obviously from the land of the Creation Museum!

Posted by: Hail Trollop on February 26, 2010 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

OK, historians: How did this stupid filibuster thing get started, anyhow? Has it ever served a useful purpose in real life? Is it in the Constitution somewhere?

Posted by: beejeez on February 26, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Bunning = Douchebag

The man (if you can call him that) uses his charity to enrich himself. Why the F' should he give a damn about the unemployed. When he leaves the Senate, he can just sign some more baseball cards to supplement his meager defined benefit Senate pension.

He really needs a swift kick in the balls.

Posted by: Greg on February 26, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

That's the line I'd like to hear Democrats repeat after Obama makes recess appointments of far left progressives, after the Senate passes HCR by reconciliation, after..............

Posted by: oh well on February 26, 2010 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

They need to hang this around the necks of the entire party. Every race this fall needs to have a commercial trying each pol to the party that blocked money so people without jobs could keep their homes, pay for medical care for their kids etc. Do it.

Posted by: NHCt on February 26, 2010 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Looking at Boehner, sitting at the health care summit, it was like he was almost the walking dead, Cantor gives me the creeps, every time I look at his smarmy smile I think 'pervert'.
On the dems side, I smile just to watch Weiner, and Alan Grayson is great, so I guess my point is that repubs are zombies, dems are people.

Posted by: JS on February 26, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats do't get it. This will happen weekly- or several times daily-- if they don't kill the filibuster. Now. if they don't kill the filibuster, the filibuster will kill ALL their policies. And elect Republicans. Who will then kill the filibuster if the Democrats have the cojones to use the same tactics. [Odds are they don't.]

Posted by: gdb on February 26, 2010 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Major league pitchers are prima donnas.

ex major league pitchers are assholes.

Posted by: DAY on February 26, 2010 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

One man filibuster - see, that's what makes the filibuster even worse than requiring supermajority rule. It isn't just that 41 can block votes, *one* can block votes. Get the word out, the usual complaint isn't harsh enough!

Posted by: Neil B on February 26, 2010 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Re: Day @ 10:04 am, not all major league pitchers are assholes. I happen to have worked with 3 of the best, as broadcasters, and the 3 that I know are awesome human beings. Very down to earth.
That said, many professional athletes have an amazingly inflated view of their importance. Since they were kids, they have been told that they are better than their peers and are held to different standard. The main exception to this seems to be hockey players. In my 30 years of working as a technician in sports television, hockey players seem to be the most down to earth.
The end result of all this preening, coddling , protecting and stroking is all too often a scumbag like Bunning or Schilling.

Posted by: JP on February 26, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

call the quorum. make the Senators all come back to town - send out Capitol Security and US Marshals if need be to drag their asses back from recess - all because of Bunning and the need to vote on cloture. Maybe then the Repubs will start controlling their own a little better.

Posted by: zeitgeist on February 26, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

"But do they have the PR sense to do so?"

What's really sad is that I think you know the answer already about today's Congressional Democrats. A more incompetent, feckless, flaccid, impotent, cowardly bunch of politicians does not exist anywhere else on this planet.

Posted by: bluestatedon on February 26, 2010 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Well, the Louisville Courier-Journal really understands their priorities. Not one mention of this outrage, but, they have a story on top about the Used Car Salesman Calipari and the Cat's beating the other USC.

Posted by: berttheclock on February 26, 2010 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

As a Kentuckian, I've been greatly embarassed through the years about Bunning's political success. He has reapeatedly demonstrated himself to be an ungracious, ill-tempered jerk more interested in advancing ideology than serving the interests of his constituents. I'm not surprised by this at all. I fear, though, that we'll see his replacement to be none other than Rand Paul.

Posted by: Dan on February 26, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

As I've said before, Jim Bunning was a great MLB pitcher for my Phils and the Tigers. As a Senator, not so much.


Posted by: Zorro on February 26, 2010 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

What exactly is Bunning's grievance?

Mr. Bunning complained he had been ambushed by the Democrats and was forced to miss the Kentucky-South Carolina basketball game."

Tough shit.

Posted by: ckelly on February 26, 2010 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Time to make Bunning the new GOP poster child. If Dems don't jump on this, then they have learned nothing over the past year. I don't mean emails to the base. I mean press conferences and media appearances. This should be discussed at length on Sunday morning and those shows that don't cover this should be challenged directly.

Posted by: bdop4 on February 26, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

"The package also includes extensions of flood insurance, highway funding and small business loans. Bunning insisted that if the financing doesn't come from the economic recovery package..."

Setting aside the fact that Bunning is a dick, why is using the economic recovery package a problem?

Posted by: Heimyankel on February 26, 2010 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

The problem is not that the Senate has an idiot in it. That will always be the case. The problem is that the majority of the Senate continues to support rules that allow idiots to completely muck up the works.

If you have a friend who complains about a problem that they have in their power to solve whenever they really want to, but instead of solving it, they instead continue to complain endlessly about it; doesn't there come a point that you realize the real problem is with your friend's behavior, and not whatever the supposed problem is? If you agree, then you understand why the continued complaining of the Democrats about how bad the Republicans are behaving has no traction with the American people.

When the Democrats filibustered Bush's judges, the Republicans moved to end the filibuster and the Democrats caved and never filibustered another judge. Now the Republicans filibuster everything and the Democrats don't even mildly threaten to end it. Reid even starts off the health conference by saying no one is talking about using reconciliation.

And from this we are supposed to think that the Republicans are the bad political party?

Posted by: Counterfactual on February 26, 2010 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

I do hope those ancient Greeks were right about the Gods first driving mad those they intend to destroy. Doesn't look like it so far.

Posted by: bob h on February 26, 2010 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) approached Bunning around 9:30 p.m., and they spoke for a moment before Reid left the floor.

. . .

To maximize pressure on Bunning, Durbin has been reading messages from Kentucky residents and unemployment statistics from counties around the state, whose unemployment rate stands at 10.7 percent, above the national average. One country, Magoffin County, has 21.4 percent of its residents unemployed, Durbin said. Merkley said he is “deeply disturbed” that Bunning can be is so “disconnected from the challenges” of working Americans."

I can only wonder how much farther along we would be if Durbin was Senate leader instead of Reid.

Posted by: bdop4 on February 26, 2010 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

"Time to fire this ass hole."

He's not running for reelection because he was going to lose.

But it is time to indict this ass hole.

"On December 18, 2008, the Lexington Herald Leader reported that Sen. Bunning's non-profit foundation, the Jim Bunning Foundation, has given less than 25 percent of its proceeds to charity. The charity has taken in $504,000 since 1996, according to Senate and tax records; during that period, Senator Bunning was paid $180,000 in salary by the foundation while working a reported one hour per week. Bunning Foundation board members include his wife Mary, and Cincinnati tire dealer Bob Sumerel. In 2008, records indicate that Bunning attended 10 baseball shows around the country and signed autographs, generating $61,631 in income for the charity.[33] "The whole thing is very troubling," said Melanie Slone, Executive Director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington."


Posted by: robert on February 26, 2010 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

To republicans in the House and Senate it is okay for our tax dollars to go to their salaries, benefits and expenses, plus bailing out their irresponsible and reckless corporate cronies but keeping food in the bellies of American people just can not be done.

It must be tough being a republican manly man with all 10s of millions of dirty American peasants expecting them to actually be leaders. The responsibilities and demands must just wreck their beautiful minds.

Posted by: Silver Owl on February 26, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

My unemployed for over a year best friend who lives in Lexington, KY is just thrilled to bits with Bunning... NOT!!!!!

One more reason for her to hate Kentucky basketball (not that she needed one).

Posted by: ET on February 26, 2010 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Stack Bunning...

Posted by: "Joe Stack" on February 26, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Bunning knows that no one will miss an unemployment check. I suspect that he thinks he needs to make an ass of himself to prove to the rest of the Senate that he is still relevant. Jerk.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 26, 2010 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Where was a line drive off his skull (when he was an MLB pitcher) when we needed it?

Posted by: Mike on February 26, 2010 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

write to mcconnell complaining that his party's sociopathic indifference to the welfare of citizens was on display at the summit and in this filibuster.tell him to stop it. they need to hear from aggrived citizens so they know we are noticing their antics.

Posted by: sue on February 26, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

And of course the Dems are running a 15-second ad in Kentucky about this, right?

Out of work?
Worried about the future?
Senator Jim Bunning has a message for you:
"Tough XXXX"

It doesn't matter if he's not seeking re-election. Running an ad like that creates a controversy, which the media then has to cover, which then draws national attention to Republican fecklessness. Why are the Dems so stupid about things like this?

Posted by: josef on February 26, 2010 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

With unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies for the jobless due to expire this weekend...
Are we talking about those Cadillac unemployment vacations where people are getting 99 weeks of unemployment? Unclear.

Posted by: Luther on February 26, 2010 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Bunning needs to look around because pretty soon Americans are going to be pitching their tents in his front yard. I have no other place to go so why not go to Senator Jim Bunning estate. Bunning will not be re-elected because he's got his head up his ass.

Posted by: James Fraley on February 27, 2010 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

It's horrific that the grand minds of the senate, let Bunnning's cold-hearted knuckle ball logic persists in their midst.

Posted by: Ray on February 27, 2010 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

jim bunning must like sticking his neck out he's the biggest a-hole in D.C. rite now an i pray to GOD his old ass never has a good nights sleep again an this goes for he's family as well!What a DICKHEAD!go back to KY. YOU ASSHOLE,AN I HOPE YOU DO HAVE PLENTY OF KY ON HAND CAUSE YOUR GONNA NEED IT!

Posted by: BRIAN WOOD on February 27, 2010 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

If the Dems can't make massive political hay out of this then they don't deserve to be in power. This is a slam dunk: the fact that one knuckle-dragging reprobate Republican can hold up benefits for millions of desperate unemployed people (many made that way by the Republican's cronies on Wall Street) is sickening and deplorable.

Posted by: electrolite on February 27, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK


Posted by: Bob on February 27, 2010 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

If they don't pass this bill I'll be out on the streets with a lot of other people.Tuesday if they dont pass this bill I encourage every American who loses their benefits to go out wednesday morning before rush hour traffic ,group together and block the freeways nearest you.If we're not working nobody will be going to work!You might be able to stop 1 or 2 people but you can't stop over a half million.That's how they got things done in the past. It's time we stopped just rolling over.

Posted by: kjones on February 27, 2010 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

It sure is funny that there is all this money that can be sent to every other country (eg Haiti) in the world so the US can aid them, but when it comes to taking care of their own forget it, we don't have money to help the unemployed needing insurance.

Posted by: Matt E. on March 1, 2010 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

this guy takes the cake , it's not just his voting on the issues it's his attitude. it stinks and the whole world sees it. do the country a favor and go back to backwoods of ky. mr. bunning,and have shot of moonshine and chill.

Posted by: kevin on March 2, 2010 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

we think this is just another 'so called politician' taking an underhanded jab at the o'bama admin. and the entire democratic party. you are hurting the so-called republican 'comeback' with your crappy, redneck attitude. if i was 'still' a republican i would ask you to shut up and let the good people in the rep. party do the talking. there are still a few out there, isn't there ???

Posted by: Kevin Lee Henderson on March 2, 2010 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK



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