Monday, March 1, 2010

"Political Poison"

It's one thing for a lawmaker to make a principled stand against what he believes to be unwise policy. It's quite another to use procedure to block legislation to satisfy political scores or make a political statement, or to arm-twist over federal spending in one's district. Witness Richard Shelby's asinine choice to block every one of President Obama's political appointments because he wanted a couple of plumb earmarks for his state, Alabama.

And here's another: Kentucky Republican Jim "I'm so old and decrepit even my hernia's got gray hair" Bunning, who put a hold on a reauthorization of unemployment benefits for 30 days. Forget the fact that his own state's unemployment rate is 10.7%, higher than the national average. In fact, his behavior around this issue has been deplorable. When Democrats asked again and again for unanimous consent for the exension, Bunning refused to go along, telling one Dem Senator, "Tough shit."

He wants the funds used to extend benefits to come from federal stimulus funds instead of adding to the deficit. Not an ignoble idea, but not even his own party's leadership supported his decision.

But here's the kicker:

[A]t one point during the debate, which dragged on till nearly midnight, Bunning complained of missing a basketball game.

"I have missed the Kentucky-South Carolina game that started at 9:00," he said, "and it's the only redeeming chance we had to beat South Carolina since they're the only team that has beat Kentucky this year.

Reminds me of when Newt Gingrich and the Republican-led Congress let the government run out of money instead of raising the debt ceiling. It cost the Republicans dearly in P.R. and they really haven't recovered since. They are the party of no.

No comments: