Personally, I think Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is providing the American electorate a wonderful lesson in civics, and how interconnected our governmental programs happen to be. It is important for citizens to know what this one Senator's action has wrought: a potential cut in unemployment benefits to more than a million this month, the furloughing of approximately 2,000 workers in the Department of Transportation (infrastructure projects perhaps), and cuts in Medicare fees owed doctors.
Now, Bunning, the man who fell asleep during those maddening Senate Finance Committee meetings back in the fall, is not running for re-election this year. This is also the same man who uttered, so eloquently, "tough shit," when his fellow Senators tried to get him to change his mind. And he allegedly gave reporters the finger earlier today. All of this because he is pissed that Sen. Reid, in abandoning the Senate Finance Committee's attempt at a jobs bill that was filled with tons of things other than direct help to create jobs.
I wondered if Bunning's real motivation is similar to the motivation of Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), when he placed a blanket hold on all of Obama's nominations in need of Senate confirmation. In some ways I hope that this situation will play out just like the government shutdown of 1995, which amounted to nothing more than a pissing contest between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton, over a presumed slight against Gingrich by Clinton.
Perhaps Bunning, so opposed to health insurance reform, or so pissed that his party essentially showed him the door, is just being a pissed off soon to be irrelevant former politician flexing the last bit of political muscle he has left. Regardless, I hope Americans will take away from this situation a better understanding of just how obstructionist the U.S. Senate can be, whether the obstructionism is principled or not. And from that, I would hope that all of those people who want to blame Obama for not getting his agenda through the Senate will understand better exactly what he, or frankly any other POTUS, would be up against.
I am probably hoping for way too much from my fellow Americans.