Friday, January 16, 2009

Senator Bunning: Kentucky Needs Both of Our Senators

Senator Jim Bunning has been AWOL from the Senate -- missing key votes and the opportunity to question three nominees of the Obama administration. James R. Carrroll reached Bunning on his cell phone last night:

Bunning said he was fulfilling "a family commitment six months ago to do certain things, and I'm doing them."
"I have another life besides the U.S. Senate," he said. "My family is more important than the U.S. Senate. It always has been and always will be."

I admire his devotion to family but do not understand why the family obligation could not have been moved to Washington and scheduled for after the Senate's adjournment.

Now if the Senator or a member of his family is ill, we understand his absence and extend our prayers. His comments suggest, however, that this was more along the lines of a vacation or optional event over which he had some control.

The U.S. Constitution give us two Senators and we are entitled to have both of them show up and represent us. Bunning's absence disenfranchised us, regardless of whether his vote would hve changed an outcome. (Apparently, it did not -- this time.)

Bunning missed a key strategy meeting with Senate Republicans. We don't have many troops in the Senate at present; we need them all, every last one of them. And if Bunning is serious about running for reelection, he should bear in mind that his truancy will not motivate Republicans to dig deep when his campaign calls looking for contributions.

Before entering politics, Bunning was a celebrated professional baseball player. He'd do well to remember the advice of Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken, who made 2,632 games even when he was battling an injury or illness or a competing family event. Ripken taught that 80 percent of life is just showing up.

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