Republican Senator Jim Bunning from Kentucky single-handedly blocked a Senate bill that would have extended unemployment benefits to over 1 million Americans for 30 days. Bunning missed 21 Senate floor votes in December 2009 alone. But he didn’t want to miss this bipartisan bill. He forced the entire Senate to remain in discussions till midnight to filibuster the bill. His defense of actually supporting the measure but fighting the deficit is so blatant a lie, that even the Senate’s GOP leadership doesn’t believe him.
Senator Bunning is an eccentric who has exhibited bizarre behavior numerous times. He once said that his Democratic opponent in the Senate race looked like one of Saddam Hussein's sons and refused to go to Kentucky for the debate. Later he took part in the debate from Washington using a teleprompter. While talking to Democrats he repeatedly referred to Obama as “your president,” stooping to the lowest level of dirty politics.
During his speech that lasted till midnight, he held the entire Senate hostage and lectured about bipartisanship. He complained about missing the Kentucky vs. South Carolina basketball game, which was foremost in his mind – above the million Americans who are struggling to find work. When the Senator from Oregon begged him to drop his objection, Bunning said, “tough shit.” It is unbelievable, but unfortunately feasible that just one individual held the fate of one million people in all 50 states. At first it seems surprising that the Senator didn’t worry about the thousands of people from his own state, Kentucky, who needed this extension. But it becomes clear when you realize this man is not running for office again and doesn’t care for his constituents.
Bunning’s speech on the Senate floor was a selfish, cold hearted act which he rightly described as an ‘ambush.’ A few years ago, Time magazine appropriately called Jim Bunning one of ‘America's Five Worst Senators’ and stated he showed little interest in policy, unless it involves baseball. Senator Bunning used to be a baseball player. For him, this is a just a game. For the people who are looking for a temporary extension of benefits for just one more month to keep their health insurance, this is a heartless ambush on a million Americans.