Last night, fellow Senate Republicans finally persuaded Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky to drop his one-man block on a bill funding unemployment benefits, road construction, and other politically popular measures — but not before Democrats were able to make vast amounts of political hay from the episode by painting Bunning as the epitome of an obstructist party. Did Bunning's move derail the GOP's recent momentum in Washington?
Bunning is the Democrats' new best friend: Bunning's right that the GOP should "draw a line in the sand" on spending, says Rick Holmes at Wicked Local. But stiffing the unemployed is a "snit," not a serious effort at deficit reduction. If Bunning's "tantrum" did anything, it just proved that "if anyone can save the Democrats from humiliation in November, it’s the Republicans."
The GOP needs more Bunnings: I get why "the Dems are going bonkers," says Michelle Malkin in her blog. But the "weak-willed Republicans" more worried about being "cast as the heartless Scrooges" than opposing the "permanent Nanny State" deserve what they get. If they can't back a principled stand like Bunning's, "what good are they?"
"Sen. Bunning and the unemployment benefits debate revisited"
He's helping Obama on health care: Harry Reid and Co. are going to have to resort to budget reconciliation to pass their health care bill, says Mike Madden at Salon. But convincing the publc they're justified is going to be tough. Bunning's "angry one-man effort" to block a popular bipartisan measure offers a perfect talking point for how GOP senators have taken their power to obstruct too far — and there's no choice but to use different rules.
"Democrats plan to keep talking about Bunning"