Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 25, 2010

A PARTY OF BUNNINGS.... With Senate Republicans having killed an important jobs bill yesterday afternoon, it seems like a good time to take a quick stroll down memory lane -- to about four months ago.

The Senate was getting ready to approve a jobs bill that extended unemployment benefits to jobless Americans. It would have increased the deficit a little, but under the circumstances, that was considered routine and uncontroversial.

Sen. Jim Bunning, the Kentucky Republican who has occasionally seemed mentally unstable, took a bold, lonely, ridiculous stand -- there could be no jobs bill if it increased the deficit. Bunning launched what was, in effect, a one-man filibuster, which came to be known as the "Bunning Blockade."

The right-wing Kentuckian soon became the subject of widespread ridicule, and a symbol of all that is wrong with the modern-day Senate. It didn't help when Bunning flipped off a journalist who dared to ask the senator to explain his position, nor when Bunning told one of his colleagues, imploring him to be reasonable, "Tough sh*t."

After about a week, Bunning ended his little tantrum, the bill advanced, benefits to the jobless were extended, and thousands of furloughed workers Bunning had sent home without pay were able to get back to work.

But let's pause to appreciate what's become evident since -- Bunning's absurd behavior has spread like a cancer, to the point that every single member of the Senate Republican conference, and one confused conservative Democrat, is taking the exact same position he took in late February and early March.

We've gone from one erratic senator flipping off a reporter to an entire party caucus flipping off millions of Americans. We've gone from a seemingly unstable lawmaker telling a colleague, "Tough sh*t" to the entire Republican conference telling the whole country, "Tough sh*t."

In the late winter, Jim Bunning was something of a laughing stock. In the early summer, we have an entire Party of Bunnings.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (17)

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Kudos to Steve for keeping a running list--and I'm sure it's quick a huge freaking list--of all the outlandish, ridiculous things that Republicans have done in recent history, and using it to remind us of similar happenings to what is now going on.

I recall that there was quite a backlash even within the Republican party over Bunning's stunt, causing him to eventually back down. One would think that the 'liberal media' would point this out.

Posted by: terraformer on June 25, 2010 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

Laughing stock...

The only ones laughing now are the Republicans who are seeing the ruin of the entire country as their path back to power. What has become of this once proud Republic?

Posted by: stevio on June 25, 2010 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

The only good thing is that this morning NPR announced that the Republicans had blocked the unemployment bill. Too bad the NYT and the Washington Post can't be as honest.

Republicans are a small rurally centered party. How about getting behind a bill that helps balance the budget by killing farm subsities. How about going after cotton, or maybe cotton and corn? Maybe just go after the entire boondoggle. If we can't take care of the unemployed and we continue to reward jobs going overseas, we can't afford to enrich ADM any more.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 25, 2010 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

The old American Dream is dead.
Long live the new American Dream - THE FRENCH REVOLUTION!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 25, 2010 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, terraformer, yes, it is pleasant to come to choir practice and see that ever lengthening list. However, as to that backlash, remember Coburn was the next to employ the same tactic. The RepuGs are, simply, running an elongated relay race with many a baton handoff to others. Barton's "Apology" was not done in any vacuum. He is supported by many on the Right.

However, while this is ongoing, we may laugh, but, the ratings of the administration is still falling. We may see who is responsible for destroying the fabric of this nation, but, many outside this group fail to understand who is at fault. They only read failure to move forward. Unless jobs are created the President will have to use his talent at speaking, to leave a memorable concession speech in 2012, as few voters will remember who is really at fault.

Posted by: berttheclock on June 25, 2010 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

"killing farm subsidies"- Ron Byers

Brilliant! (although, one point off for spelling)

We urban NorthEasterners have little use for farmers, anyway. We get OUR food at the supermarket. . .

Of course there are a bunch of farm country Dems, too, but the threat might send shivers down some Republican't spines.

Posted by: DAY on June 25, 2010 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

All the people moaning about how successful the Republicans are because nobody is blaming them haven't taken a look at the polls. The President is still doing better than Republicans. This stunt is probably going to hurt them as much or more than it hurts Democrats. Just keep on placing the blame. The President has had a series of successes and the failure to extend unemployment benefits can be turned to the advantage of Democrats.

Pick a Republican sacred cow and go after it. The article the other day about the farm welfare farmer bitching about urban welfare recepients got me thinking. Go after farm subsidies. It is really rural/corporate welfare. Stop manipulating the farm market. Let the market decide which farmers succeed and which farmers move to the city.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 25, 2010 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Party of No
Party of Wall Street
Party of BP
Party of Bunnings

What else? What next? Is there a list somewhere?

Posted by: josef on June 25, 2010 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Okay, so how long is Obama going to keep trying to kick the football?

There is no bipartisanship on the Republican side. Their strategy is to let the economy collapse but to make sure that they get to rule over the rubble.

And it's time for Obama to say so.

He needs to go on national teevee and say that he's had enough. He weakened the economic stimulus package and got just one Republican to vote for it. He weakened health care reform and got no Republican votes. Republicans continue to block Wall Street reform and efforts to raise the liability cap on oil companies that spill oil.

Obama needs to say that now it's the Republican's turn to move toward the middle. And that he's not going to talk to them until they show some good faith.

Or, he can just continue doing and hope that Lucy doesn't pull the ball away next time.

Posted by: SteveT on June 25, 2010 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

People are still confused and smarting from the debacle of republican shenanigans enjoyed over the breadth of the first decade of the new millennium . Even knuckleheaded republicans I know are hesitant to follow the nursery points bleeding out of central planning . The laughing all the way , don't mind the man behind the curtain brain trust of Boehner , McConnell , Steele , and god knows whatever clowns they throw up there . These charmers have lost the bright shiny needed for their distraction from the deep depression . Just saying .

Posted by: FRP on June 25, 2010 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

As usual Senator Claire McGaskill was spot on, the repubs saw the graph showing the jobs gained under this president and panicked, so they decided to derail the bill that keeps the momentum going. They want to take down Obama so bad they are willing to take down the country, we must not let them succeed, if there is a way to bring this bill up again - very publicly to show their obstruction and to make them stay over the holdiay - I hope we do that!

Posted by: jJS on June 25, 2010 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Steve - Could you kindly post something at 9:36 once in a while, you know, just to break the rut.

Posted by: Scott F. on June 25, 2010 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Party of Bunnings? Party of Hoovers more like it. The Dems need to run with that. The party that brought us soup lines and Hooverville tent citys in America are at it again stymieing the recovery.

Posted by: Gene on June 25, 2010 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't Rachel Maddow use the "Party of Bunnings" line last night? You should have given her credit for it, Steve. She always credits you when she uses your stuff.

Posted by: shortstop on June 25, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

My friend has sent out about hundred resumes and had about a dozen interviews she she was laid of in KY at the end of 2008, and still hasn't found a job. Her unemployment runs out in a few weeks and now she has to sell her house. That is just one story.

There are going to be a lot of people who have tried and not found work that are coming to the end of their unemployment check. Do Republicans think these people are going to vote for them?

Posted by: ET on June 25, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

I pray to the earth and the sky, let this be the end of these so called "public servants"..

Posted by: Tollop on June 25, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

well.... end of my unemployment happened.... although I go to the mailbox anyway to look. a nervous habit.

f*@# you Republicans and f@$% you too any politician that is playing politics with peoples lives (which I suppose includes just about all of you f*#$^#@s).

I'm going now to check my mailbox and pray for a miracle.

Posted by: SickAndTiredAndUnemployed on June 25, 2010 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK



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