“Hard to get happy after that one.” — Andy Kaufman (“Taxi”)

December 5, 2009


Some baseball players lose their edge over time, but Jim Bunning ain’t one of ’em. He can still put them over the plate, as he demonstrated last week in his verbal assault on Ben Bernanke, who was appearing before a U.S. Senate committee that was considering Bernanke’s nomination to continue as head of the Federal Reserve.

Bunning, a Republican senator from Kentucky and one of the most conservative members of Congress, made a statement at the hearing in which he explained not only why Bernanke shouldn’t be reappointed but why — as my brother might put it — he has no reason to exist. Amid a detailed dissection of what Bunning considers Bernanke’s contributions to the nation’s financial crisis, the senator said: “You are the definition of a moral hazard … Your time as Fed Chairman has been a failure.” The complete statement was published by the Huffington Post at THIS link.


Bunning holds a degree in economics, so for all I know he could be right about Bernanke and about Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan, for whom the senator has at least as much affection. On the other hand, his political career has been peppered with bizarre incidents and statements, including his prediction of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg and his public pronouncement that he doesn’t read newspapers and gets all his information from Fox News. His approval ratings, for what they’re worth, are at present in the sewer. He has been unable to raise campaign funds — which he blames on a conspiracy against him within his own party — and he will not run for reelection.

Well, if his political career hasn’t been exemplary, that fact will never outweigh his baseball career. He was one of the very best pitchers of his time and is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He could throw strikes — oh, could he ever! He struck out 2,855 batters while walking only 1,000. Bunning was one of only 40 pitchers in the history of baseball to strike out the side by throwing nine pitches — all strikes. Try that sometime.


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