Bob Franken

Jim Bunning’s Games

How about some reflections on Senator Jim Bunning, without any clever references to his past life as a major league all-star pitcher? Wouldn’t that be different? Wouldn’t that be refreshing? OK then: No baseball metaphors.

It looks like Bunning has such a hatred for his own team’s quarterback, Mitch McConnell, that he tried to sack him. At the same time, he fumbled the ball and allowed the bitter rival team to score an easy touchdown.

He broke his own side’s serve, because he was way out of bounds. His power play failed miserably

It was a slam dunk for the Democrats, who have been complaining that, for over a year, his fellow Republicans have been doing nothing but trying to block their shots. Bunning committed a flagrant foul (basketball, not that other sport). Come to think of it, it was a technical non-foul because he was following the rules. Score one for those who think the Senate game needs to be changed.

Actually, this was a game-within-a-game. That guy Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, is forcing Senator Bunning to the sidelines. Both are from Kentucky the race horse state. Jim Bunning is seething about the way McConnell jockeyed him out of next year’s election derby by seeing to it no one would place their bets on Bunning .

The problem is there’s a decent reason for his solitary defense. While other sports have salary caps and other limits on spending this one sure does not. All the other Washington players spend massive amounts of money they don’t really have. That was what Bunning says he was trying to block as everyone around him trots out cliches like “Paygo”, Pay-As-You-Go or Pay-To-Play.

Until he forfeited, the losers weren’t on the playing field at all. They were the spectators—the desperate jobless whose paltry benefits were suddenly cut off, highway construction workers who were about the join the unemployed because the money to pay them dried up.

Bunning picked the wrong turf. There could definitely be spending discipline but the special teams of wealthy special interests make sure their cutbacks are blocked. This game is fixed. All that any of us can do is watch. And boo. While at the same time we cheer this complete absence of baseball metaphors.

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