As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Conservative Losing-Team Slap-Fights

There ultimately will be no "conservative crackup" - a party espousing authoritarian and business-friendly policies will always exist. But there are fissures - and pretty much due to personality rather than ideology. For example, Rush Limbaugh gets personally upset when politicians challenge his "I want Obama to fail" mantra. Tim Pawlenty is personally hurt by national Republicans urging on Norm Coleman to continue fighting the Minnesota election despite impossible odds, because his state isn't getting what it needs. And another example is Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning, who the party wants to ease into retirement because, well, he's crazy and would lose a re-election fight, but who is too stubborn to go quietly:

But Bunning, a famously irascible former pitcher enshrined in baseball's Hall of Fame, is digging in. He insists he will run despite lackluster fundraising and is rebuking those who suggest he shouldn't.

McConnell has not publicly asked Bunning to retire, but he has ducked questions about the race, saying he will wait until Bunning makes his intentions clear. Bunning, who has said over and over that he is running, said later that McConnell must have "had a lapse of memory."

He has had even harsher words for Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who is leading the GOP's re-election efforts for next year. Cornyn had similarly deflected comment on the race, prompting Bunning to say Cornyn "doesn't understand English."

Bunning did not appear to be mollified when Cornyn said he supports the Kentucky senator. "I don't believe anything John Cornyn says," Bunning said.

That comment came around the same time that word leaked that Republican Kentucky state Senate President David Williams met with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which Cornyn heads. Bunning told reporters Tuesday that he would have grounds for a lawsuit against the committee if it backed a GOP challenger to him in the 2010 primary.

Bunning first threatened to sue the NRSC if they didn't support him. Then he apparently made an even more substantive threat:

WASHINGTON — Already in conflict with his party’s leaders, Sen. Jim Bunning has reportedly said privately that if he is hindered in raising money for his re-election campaign he is ready with a response that would be politically devastating for Senate Republicans: his resignation.

The Kentucky Republican suggested that possible scenario at a campaign fundraiser for him on Capitol Hill earlier this week, according to three sources who asked not to be identified because of the politically sensitive nature of Bunning’s remarks.

The implication, they said, was that Bunning would allow Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, to appoint his replacement — a move that could give Democrats the 60 votes they need to block Republican filibusters in the Senate.

“I would get the last laugh. Don’t forget Kentucky has a Democrat governor,” one of the sources quoted Bunning as saying.

“The only logical extension of that comment is, ‘(Make me mad) … enough and I’ll resign, and then you’ve got 60 Democrats,’ ” said another source who was present at the event.

Bunning is already backing away from the statement. But you can see how a strong daddy conservative with a runaway ego would say such a thing. Just like in sports, when you're a losing team, all the petty jealousies and angry backbiting comes out. I'd say it's unlikely that Bunning bolts, but he'd probably be thrilled to screw Mitch McConnell and the GOP. It's all a game to them, anyway.

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