Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Did Jim Bunning relent? Or did he win?

Never have we come so close to the Apocalypse. Maybe the last time a large asteroid narrowly missed the earth. Or when the Cold War superpowers flirted with mutual assured destruction. But these do not compare to the near calamity we just experienced when Sen. Jim Bunning nearly brought the entire country to the brink of ... of ...

Fiscal responsibility.

Today's headlines are declaring that Sen. Jim Bunning has "given in" and "has relented" on his demand that a spending bill be paid for and not simply added to the already burgeoning budget deficit.

Now why would the media be trumpeting this as a defeat for Bunning when, in fact, Bunning won? That's right: Bunning won.

But if Bunning won, doesn't that mean that people are not going to get their unemployment checks and that public employees are going to be furloughed and that roads aren't going to be built and that The End Is Near generally speaking for all of us?

Of course, it means nothing of the kind.

Despite all the absurd media rhetoric about Bunning trying to stop unemployment benefits from being given to poor unemployed families, all the Kentucky senator wanted was for the benefits to be paid for. Harry Reid and his deficit spending minions wanted to put one more item on the federal credit card. And when Bunning got up and protested that we shouldn't be further increasing the already burgeoning federal deficit, he was attacked for being some sort of out-of-control old coot who had lost his mind.

When did fiscal responsibility become a sign of mental instability?

The media profile of Bunning was of an old, out-of-touch and possibly senile senator who wanted revenge on his political enemies, his action a sort of political suicide bombing.

But the more appropriate metaphor would be of a political Sampson, shorn of the future prospect of serving in office and bound by the chains of his minority status, pulling down the columns in the house of the political Philistines.

In fact, the whole episode makes you wonder: how did Bunning, a member of the minority, single-handedly confound the entire majority party--and a few of his fellow Republicans into the bargain? And why aren't more people doing it?

In the end, it wasn't Bunning who relented: it was Harry Reid and his fellow drunken sailors who were forced to pay for the program now rather than pass it on to our children.

The Wall Street Journal was right when it lauded the Kentucky senator's Herculean efforts in the cause of fiscal common sense: It was Jim Bunning's "finest hour."


Thomas M. Cothran said...

Bunning isn't really interested in fiscal responsibility so long as he supports the absurd amount of spending that goes on in the military-industrial complex.One can't be against big government and be for that. Like I've said, there's only one Republican in Congress that's really in favor of big government and not just using it as a slogan, and it's not Bunning.

Lee said...

Just for grins, could we start the small government push by dismantling the welfare state first, and then seeing where that leads us?

Thomas M. Cothran said...

Interesting that the first thing to go is always support for those most in need.

Lee said...

That depends on how we define "need" and how we define the government's responsibilities.

I doubt that the Founding Fathers had the welfare state in mind when they composed the phrase, "promote the general welfare." But I'm reasonably sure they had war in mind when they empowered Congress to declare war and placed the President in charge of the armed forces.

I trust the government to be good at killing people and breaking things. That makes it perfect for doing certain jobs that require killing people and breaking things -- i.e, national defense and enforcing the criminal law code.

The citizens need is to be protected from enemies both foreign and domestic. Otherwise, they need to remain as self-reliant as possible. The welfare state kills self-reliance.