Dear Jim Bunning: Please quit whining!
We've been watching with bemusement this developing feud between Kentucky's U.S. Senators, Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning.
McConnell won re-election in his toughest battle yet last fall; Bunning is up for re-election next year. Concerns about Bunning's vulnerability as an incumbent have apparently prompted McConnell to turn on his former friend and colleague.
Bunning hasn't been silent about what's happening at all; to the contrary he's been increasingly outspoken at what he sees as a bid from McConnell to sabotage his re-election bid.
The junior senator won't get a sympathetic ear here. Of all people, Bunning should know full well what McConnell is capable of. After all, Bunning sat and watched as McConnell recruited Anne Northup to run against incumbent Ernie Fletcher in the 2007 Republican gubernatorial primary, then endorsed Northup over Fletcher. Why should Bunning be aghast at this behavior when he was part and parcel of something similar two years ago?
Although Bunning has been a staunch fiscal conservative, standing against bailouts and stimulus packages and tax increases, we lump him and McConnell in the same category because they fail a basic test of conservatism: loyalty. They showed no loyalty to Ernie Fletcher, now McConnell is giving Bunning the "Fletcher treatment" and Bunning seems surprised.
You reap what you sow. Bunning is getting the same thing that he and McConnell visited upon Fletcher two years ago.
Instead of working to find an opponent for Bunning, perhaps McConnell should instead be working to help shore up his colleague's perceived weaknesses.
Don't get us wrong: we'd be more than happy to see Bunning shot down in flames, precisely because of what he did to Fletcher. But should Bunning be shocked that McConnell is doing this? We aren't.
Grassroots Republicans are becoming increasingly frustrated with McConnell for his failure to support his party's candidates, and Bunning has a grassroots fandom because of his fiscal conservatism. It will be interesting to see how that turns out in terms of popular support for McConnell and his position as titular leader of the state Republican Party.
Still, what goes around comes around, karma is a wonderful thing, and all that. Bunning is now on the receiving end of what he helped dish out not all that long ago. Ernie Fletcher didn't whine and cry about it when Bunning did it to him. Bunning ought not be crying about it now that Mitch has targeted him.