Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to weigh in on the Jim Bunning “controversy”. Bunning was alone in blocking a $10 billion spending bill that included extension of unemployment benefits. Now let’s get the obvious out of the way. Bunning is a hypocrite to end all hypocrites. None of George W. Bush’s wars were paid for yet Bunning voted time and again to fund them. He also voted to give tax breaks to the wealthy without worrying about finding another source for that revenue. The left went berserk with outrage. A few brave souls defended his fiscal courage, like the Wall Street Journal (should we be surprised?). And of course there was the occasional dumbass like John Kyl who suggested that unemployment benefits discourage people from going out and finding work. (More on that at the bottom of the page.)
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But we need to swim over to the deep end of the hypocrisy pool. You see except for a few Republicans, virtually everyone either publicly or privately condemned Bunning’s actions. So what we really witnessed was a GOP who less than a week after opposing health care reform on the grounds of financial irresponsibility, jump on Bunning for holding up this legislation. True, they were not as vocal as the Democrats but they still felt Bunning had gone off the deep end. (Bunning actually has an interesting history of being a loon.) Senator Susan Collins of Maine urged the Kentucky Senator to back down.
What I love about this is the dirty little secret that was reveled by the whole incident. Everyone in Washington likes to spend money. Now we already knew this from the first six years of the Bush administration where a Republican Congress took us from surplus to deficit. Since Democrats have always put ideology above fiscal responsibility the remaining two years of Bush’s term went no better. But we were led to believe that the times had changed. The Republican party had learned its lesson and they were gonna rail against reckless Democratic spending every chance they got. That is the big health care reform argument right? But the truth is Republicans want to get re-elected as badly as anyone else and denying people unemployment benefits is not the way to get re-elected. If it weren’t for his voting record, Bunning might rightly be called a hero for walking the GOP talk. Alas this was just a case of one of Bunning’s neurons misfiring.
It kinda makes a guy sympathize with the old rallying cry “throw the bums out.”
The GOP Really Doesn’t Love America
Let’s return to Jon Kyl a minute. In defending Bunning, Kyl said that “”continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.” So let me get this straight. The GOP, the ra-ra-sisboomba party that loves America, the real Americans, the hard-working Americans, thinks that the average American would prefer to receive unemployment benefits than to get off their ass and find a job. Do I understand this right? The industrious American who doesn’t want the government interfering in their lives, would in the same breath gladly go on the dole.
This is the fascinating paradox of the Republican perspective. Don’t provide government programs because the more the government does for people the more they will be slaves to the government. Yet these are the same people who supposedly don’t want the government in their lives. So which is it? Are Americans lazy good-for-nothings who will suck up every government program or are they independent proud citizens who want government out of their way? Democrats and Barack Obama in particular get flack for being elitists who disrespect and condescend to the average American. But what could be more disrespectful than to believe that providing a helping hand to Americans will be taken advantage of by them? The GOP doesn’t love the American people. The GOP thinks the American people are a bunch of lazy loafers who need “tough love”. I call that condescension piled on top of hypocrisy.