WSJ Editorial Calls Out Bunning Episode As Example of PayGo Hypocrisy

BunningIn the past 72 hours, NewsBusters has called attention to roughly 10 print and broadcast media items ripping into Jim Bunning for daring to stop a spending bill in the Senate.

Beyond that, it appears that no establishment media outlet has raised a few self-evident points made in a Wednesday Wall Street Journal editorial, proving yet again that the paper's editorials are as much a real news source as they are a rundown of the editorialists' particular take on things.

The critical points of the editorial (link may require subscription, and will probably not be available in a few weeks) are these:

  • Bunning was trying to do in practice what Nancy and Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama are fond of only talking about (Clay Waters also made this point in one of those NewsBusters posts).
  • The outrage is the result of substance-free political gamesmanship.
  • (Tea Partiers take note) Many of Bunning's fellow party members headed for the tall grass when the media heat commenced.
What follows are the Journal excerpts that make those points (bolds are mine):

Mr. Bunning has dared to put a hold on a $10 billion spending bill to extend jobless insurance and fund transportation projects. Mr. Bunning says he won't yield until the Senate finds a way to pay for the new spending with cuts somewhere else in the $3.5 trillion budget. For this perfectly reasonable stance, Mr. Bunning has become the Beltway and media villain of the hour. We'd call it his finest hour.

Every time Washington wants to spend money, the Senate Majority Leader asks for "unanimous consent" to authorize the funding, and in the collegial Senate everyone falls in line. But when Harry Reid wanted consent last week for that $10 billion, Mr. Bunning broke the old-boy rules by shouting: "I object."

The faux indignation has been something to behold.

... By the way, Democrats could end Mr. Bunning's stand by invoking cloture and getting the 60 votes they need to proceed. Mr. Reid won't do that because he thinks he's scoring points using Mr. Bunning to define Republicans as "obstructionists." So who's playing politics here?

Mr. Bunning is merely asking the Senate to live by the rules that President Obama said it should when he signed an executive order requiring "pay-as-you-go" budgeting. "Now, Congress will have to pay for what it spends, just like everybody else," he said, only three weeks ago. But instead of backing Mr. Bunning's stand that new spending must be "paid for," the White House is attacking him.

The real story here is that Mr. Bunning is exposing pay-go as a fraud. When Mr. Obama and Democrats want to spend money on their priorities, they waive the rule by declaring an emergency. They only enforce pay-go to block tax cuts.

... Another truth is that Mr. Bunning is making most Republicans as uncomfortable as he is Democrats. ... Susan Collins of Maine asked him Tuesday to stand down and told reporters that his "views do not represent a majority of the Republican caucus."

If any establishment media outlets have made the first two points raised by the Journal, I haven't seen it. Of course, they love to make the third.

Senator Bunning is already in one Hall of Fame recognizing his outstanding baseball pitching career. For this move and for his long record of fiscal conservatism, evidenced by a consistently strong Club for Growth record (the latest available being 93% in 2008, 82% in 2007, 94% in 2006, and 82% in 2005), the former Philadelphia and Detroit star he may deserve consideration for induction into a Taxpayers' Hall of Fame.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.