Via Mark Halperin at The Page (and USA Today here), it seems that longtime Repug Senator Jim “High And Tight” Bunning has taken the hint from John Cornyn, Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao and his other “peeps” and, at long last, decided to fade into the GOP sunset.
(Hey, Bunning looks absolutely honorable compared to his fellow Repug Sen. John Ensign and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who would have long since given up their respective public lives had they a shred of decency.)
However, since we are talking about Jim Bunning here, you can be sure that his departure will not be graceful; according to the statement published in USA Today, he blamed “some of the leaders of the Republican Party in the Senate (who) have done everything in their power to dry up my fundraising” (tee hee). Also, according to Bunning, “Kentuckians should know that I will continue to be a strong voice against the domestic policies pushed by the White House and Congress that – if enacted – will put this country on the path to socialism.”
The mantra of The Party of No, my fellow prisoners…
Actually, the Repugs are getting off a bit lucky, considering that Bunning threatened to quit here in March, promising he “would get the last laugh. Don’t forget Kentucky has a Democrat governor,” one of the sources quoted Bunning as saying (meaning that, if Bunning walked, his replacement would surely have been a Dem).
Classy all the way, Jim…
And I’m sure his fellow party members didn’t want to see a repeat of the behavior described here from his 2004 campaign, which looked like a walk until Jim started “hearing voices,” thus trimming his once-insurmountable lead to a mere six percentage points…
First, (Bunning) compared (Democratic long-shot challenger Daniel) Mongiardo’s appearance to one of Saddam Hussein’s sons. Then he made an unsubstantiated claim that opposition staffers beat his wife “black and blue” at a political picnic.
… Bunning (also) backed out of a televised debate with Mongiardo, giving the relatively unknown Democrat 30 minutes of air time. Bunning joined another debate via a satellite hookup from Washington, where he read his opening and closing statements from a teleprompter. An executive of the TV station that broadcast the debate called Bunning’s use of a teleprompter “despicable,” according to the Washington Post.
And as noted here (from December ’08)…
Bunning was invited to a sports card show in Taylor, Michigan to sign autographs. “But Bunning was kicked off the schedule after he helped derail an auto-industry loan package in the Senate”
At least he was consistent in opposing both that and the TARP bailout, as noted here…consistently wrong, but consistent.
And as noted here, Bunning also held up the appointment of R. David Paulison as the head of FEMA in 2006 a month or two before the beginning of hurricane season (with the horrors of Katrina and Rita still fresh in everyone’s minds, to say nothing of the people whose lives were ruined in the process).
And who can forget, upon Senate passage of the so-called Patriot Act despite the brave, valiant opposition of Russ Feingold, Bunning’s remark that “civil liberties don’t mean much when you’re dead” here?
The Repugs could afford Bunning’s antics when they rode high and mightily roughshod over our political discourse and our national institutions of government, and many statehouses as well. They can ill afford them at this moment as our country marches in the opposite direction, leaving their precious coalition of “values voters,” government do-nothings and greed head capitalists hopelessly fractured.
As Bunning knows full well, all successful major league baseball pitchers (which he definitely was for a time) have to rely on guile (an effective curveball or slider) and power (the fastball) to be effective.
Well, there really wasn’t much craft in the positions he advocated or the government policies and legislation he supported (the subtle part, if you will). And considering that that left him with only one weapon, it was only a matter of time before he “ran out of heat.”
(And by the way, my compliments to another of Bunning’s departing Repug peers, Sen. George Voinovich, for echoing what I’ve pretty much been saying all along here.)