Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bunning Pulled for Reliever?

There comes a time when all things, good or bad, must end. Such a time has arrived for Jim Bunning regarding his tenure in the Senate. The reason has little to nothing to do with his philosophy of government, with which the perpetrator of this corner is in agreement on at least most things. He’s a conservative whose record speaks well of him.

The problem is twofold: (1) He may be a bit jaded now…age has a way of taking away the sharpness, as he, a former topnotch baseball pitcher, knows all too well. (2) He will have a hard time winning an election next year. He had a hard enough time in 2004, not because his opponent, Lt. Gov. Mongiardo (who has already announced that he will oppose him again, in 2010), was all that great, but because Bunning seemed intent upon falling on his sword, in both word and action (or inaction).

Actually, any republican will have a hard time next year unless he boogies on over into “non-partisan country,” somewhat like John McCain. Even then, any republican will have a hard time, but a fresh campaigner will have a better chance than the senator. Kentucky Senate Majority Leader David Williams will probably make the race in the Primary, is a good campaigner and all the rest, but it would be better for the party if a Primary bloodletting could be avoided.

Bunning seems to be having a lot of trouble raising money and the fact that he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell don’t get along too well doesn’t help. McConnell is a premier money-raiser and Bunning needs him. McConnell had to work hard last year to hold his seat and he’s about as hard-nosed as Bunning conservatively, but it’s doubtful that he will back someone he feels is likely to lose, and that’s probably the way he feels, having the instincts of a political pro. That awful remark Bunning made the other day concerning Supreme Court Associate Justice Ginsberg, in and of itself, is enough to make one wonder if Bunning shouldn’t step down. Judgment that bad made Bunning look not only bad but maybe ready to do something else.

If the economy is still in the tank a year from now, as most economists believe will be the case, a republican’s chances will be enhanced, never mind that Fed Chairman Bernanke predicted to the Foreign Relations gathering today that the economy will turn around by the end of this year. The Anointed One keeps referencing FDR of the 1930s with respect to how to “get more shovels in the ground,” but doesn’t mention that unemployment in 1933 was at 25% and that in 1939 it still stood at 17%, a drop of about one percent per year. Added to that is his seeming not to understand that the work of thousands of men with shovels in the 1930s can be done today by one man and a machine.

The Congress has managed to spend in the last few months more than three times the amount of money spent in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars over the last eight years…actually much more than that when all the peripheral things are thrown in. In addition to that and the current budget proposal of $410 billion, many in the Congress are calling for another “stimulus” giveaway later this year. Sooner or later, the public will catch on to what’s happening and be in the mood to “throw the rascals out.” Maybe not next year, but it will happen. As the government takes over financial institutions and the largest manufacturing concern in the nation, people will smell socialism…a bad odor.

In the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Workers Party made a serious and determined effort to turn the country communist but even though the unemployment rate stood at 25% and people were walking the streets and standing in soup lines, they would have none of it. That was another generation – a stronger one than that of today – but even today folks might not accept the smell of socialism.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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