The Last Honest Man in the Senate?

March 3, 2010
By John

Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY), the retiring conservative Senator, was vilified by the Senate Majority Leader and the press for committing a cardinal sin in Washington, DC this week.  He demanded we actually find a way to pay for a new spending bill, and that the Senate follow its own PAYGO law (passed with much fanfare by Congress and signed by President Obama last year).   He held up unemployment benefits because there was no money to pay for them in the bill.  Yes, he demanded they act responsibly, and follow their own rules.  And yes, he supported the purpose of the bill, too.

Bunning Takes Fiscal Responsibility into the 9th

What an outrage!  How dare Senator Bunning actually hold up important legislation simply because there was no money to pay for it?  It’s not like we’ll actually have to cut down trees to print this money.  Most of it will be created electronically, shipped to various accounts, and go back out through auto-pays across the land.  We won’t even notice, right?

Except for the minor problem that there is no actual money to pay for anything Congress appropriates now.  And Bunning called them on it.  In public, and on something just about everybody agrees needs to be done.  They attacked him for days, called him all manner of names, and did their level best to bring him down.  But the Rough Truth is he made his point and stands tall.   Jim Bunning, pitcher of a perfect game in MLB, played this one hard and we should all be inspired by his work once again.  God Bless him.

The Rough Truth is Jim Bunning fought this fight largely alone.  We all know that we need to stop creating cash out of thin air – but why can’t we say so with one voice when it’s hard?   Too many Republicans told him to back down.  Too many so called fiscal conservatives didn’t stand up and say something like “Hey Harry, let’s pull the money for this from the returned TARP money or from one of your fully funded left-wing Stimulus Package causes.”  Congress is addicted to unfunded spending and is fundamentally irresponsible.

The reaction of the Democratic leadership was appalling but predictable.  But the silence or even criticism of too many elected Republicans bodes poorly for the next Republican-led Congress.  If the minority can’t vigorously support a principled objection to spending when its votes don’t matter, why should we expect better when they’re in charge and dealing with even tougher issues?

Republicans should expect a lot of brutal primary fights with actual conservatives who are willing to tell the truth about our finances and make the tough calls.  And the survivors of these fights had best demonstrate a little spine when they take office, or the national outrage will shake the Capital to its foundation.

Shame on anyone who didn’t stand with Bunning.

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