Friday, February 26, 2010

What do you like best about Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)?

Oh, sure, you admire him now for his heroic filibuster preventing the senate from passing an emergency 30-day extension of unemployment benefits. (Senator Bunning objects because the extension isn't paid for.) But there is so much else to love about this guy. And I'm not even talking about his baseball-hall-of-famer status.

First, here's a scene from the Senate floor:
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. He said Democrats caused their own problems by dropping the program extensions from an earlier bipartisan jobs measure.
Like something out of Frank Capra, isn't it?

But there's so much more to admire. This guy might have the most entertaining Wikipedia entry of any active politician. You can skip on down to the section about his 2004 campaign for the best parts, like:
During his reelection bid, controversy erupted when Bunning described [his Italian-American opponent] Mongiardo as looking "like one of Saddam Hussein's sons."
That's just ONE of the many astonishing details of the campaign he somehow managed to win. (I recommend reading this Salon article for more.) So what has he done with his second six years in the Senate?
In January 2009, Bunning missed more than a week of the start of Congress in January 2009. Bunning said by phone that he was fulfilling "a family commitment six months ago to do certain things, and I'm doing them." Asked whether he would say where he was, Bunning replied: "No, I'd rather not."
In December he missed 21 votes, including (obviously) the health-care-reform vote on Christmas Eve. Even Robert Byrd showed up more often.

And top this, political satirists:
In February 2009, at the Hardin County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner, while discussing conservative judges, Bunning predicted that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would likely be dead from pancreatic cancer within nine months. Bunning later apologized if he had offended Ginsburg with his remarks and offered his thoughts and prayers to Ginsburg; his press release misspelled the Justice's last name twice.
Be sure you read to the bottom, where you'll discover that the Jim Bunning Foundation "has given less than 25 percent of its proceeds to charity." I can't even find out what charity it's supposed to be raising money for! Not that it matters!

I spent most of yesterday watching/listening to the "health-care summit." That was discouraging enough. Reading this settles it, for me. Here's my idea: we clear out the entire Senate and fill it back up with members of the U.S. Olympic team. Who's with me?

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