It's too bad the stall of a $10 billion bill was engineered by someone with as nasty a personality as Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning. So much of the coverage was focused on the "meanness" of his actions that the underlying point has been all but missed. It was just last month (while, by the way, the debt ceiling was increased to a record $1.9 trillion) that Congress reinstated "pay-go" rules requiring any new spending plans to be offset by equivalent cuts somewhere else. And the first chance they get, they ignore the rules. And all Bunning was saying was: Live by the rules you just passed:
"If we cannot pay for a bill that all 100 senators support, how can we tell the American people with a straight face that we will ever pay for anything?" he said. "That is what senators say they want, and that is what the American people want."
That's a fair question, isn't it? Even Bunning probably wouldn't have had the courage to ask it if he weren't leaving the Senate after his current term. And it's instructive that he caught almost as much grief from fellow Republicans as he did from Democrats. Why, you're making us look bad by keeping us from giving Americans things they'll love us for right when we've got the Democrats on the run and have a chance to take back Congress.
By promising a more responsible, less wasteful and lower-spending government.