On The Daily Show last night host Jon Stewart offered his take on Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-KY) filibuster of the proposed 30 day extension of unemployment benefits. Stewart said, “You hear that unemployed people in the middle of one of the worst recession in history, no 30 day extension of benefits until we balance the entire federal budget to Jim Bunning’s liking.”
Here is the video:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Senate After Dark|
Jon Stewart described Bunning’s reason for the filibuster as, “You hear that unemployed people in the middle of one of the worst recession in history, no 30 day extension of benefits until we balance the entire federal budget to Jim Bunning’s liking.” He later said, “All you have to do to pass this thing is get Bunning out of the f**king room!!! Has anybody heard of this, Jim Bunning to the courtesy phone, Jim Bunning to the courtesy phone? Is there a Jim Bunning here? You won a boat. Hey, hey, I got something, try this, there’s an announcement, free smoothies for crazy people in the lobby.”
What helps make Bunning’s stance even more ridiculous is that he sponsored almost $70 million in earmarks in 2008-2009. While his individual earmark total was only $18 million which ranked 88th among senators, he sponsored $51,639,375 in earmarks with other senators. Bunning didn’t seem overly concerned about paying for the millions of dollars in earmarks that he co-sponsored.
The way to end this filibuster and get the benefits extension passed is very simple. The Democrats need to keep the Senate open and make Jim Bunning filibuster. Sure he can stand up and object during regular business hours and block the bill, but let’s see how is he is holding up after thirty or forty hours of straight filibustering.
However, Democrats are certain not to take this approach because a), they don’t want to turn Bunning into a right wing martyr, and b), they are lazy. Bunning’s position is so unpopular outside of right wing circles that the Democrats would be foolish not to make him filibuster. An old school filibuster would attract mountains of attention and highlight just how right wing and out of touch the Republican Party is with people who are hurting. Democrats could take back the agenda, simply by calling Bunning’s bluff. It is a mystery why they won’t do it.