The Kentucky senator who is causing havoc for his own party was antagonized by GOP leaders in 2009.
Jim Bunning, the oldest Republican in the senate, cited pressure from other Republicans in his decision not to run for a third term in 2010. In a statement from his office, Bunning said colleagues had done “everything in their power to dry up my fundraising.”
There are many reasons colleagues might have sought Bunning’s retirement. In 2004, he barely won election in Kentucky in a campaign highlighted by blunders such as describing opponent Daniel Mongiardo as looking “like one of Saddam Hussein’s sons” and being “limp-wristed.”
In 2006, TIME called him one of America’s five worst senators, calling out the former MLB pitcher for showing “little interest in policy unless it involves baseball.”
So what do you do with a loose cannon? You definitely don’t piss him off, especially when he has time left in office.
During a voice vote last week, Bunning single-handedly blocked the extension of unemployment benefits for 1.2 million Americans and a measure to fill a $10 billion budget gap in Medicare funding. Although most Republicans would agree with Bunning’s stance, absolutely no one would join him in stiffing doctors and in kicking thousands of Americans to the curb.
But Bunning has nothing to lose anymore. He’s just getting warmed up.
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