Opinion

Bunning no hero for conservatism

Jamie Allman Contributor

That was fast.

Just hours after some conservatives bestowed the honorary powdered wig on Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) for standing against the extension of unemployment benefits, the senator caved.

In the midst of Bunning’s circus act there were some wondering where other Republican Senators were in standing aside Bunning. I know where they were. They were waiting in the hallway for Bunning to surrender like most Republicans do when it comes to protecting certain federal government entitlements.

It’s no hero that simply quantifies to what degree he supports socialism. A real conservative questions why, not how long a social welfare program exists. Bunning’s move was a gimmick. It’s becoming all too common these days for conservatives to use gimmicks instead of real teeth. Bunning even wanted to use stimulus funds to pay for the benefits extension! It’s kind of like some conservative people showing up for town hall meetings with signs reading “protect my Medicare!”

There is a lot of talk about fiscal responsibility these days, but so far no one has tackled the truly tough reality that the federal government was never designed to be in the business of helping people eat, work or get along when times are tough. Perhaps is the feds weren’t taking a sizeable chunk of our income we would have more money to help our family and neighbors when they are suddenly out of work. Perhaps we would have more money to give to churches and charities that help our fellow citizens in need. Do I believe I am responsible for helping my fellow citizen in tough times? Yes. I just don’t believe the federal government is responsible for it.

Unfortunately very few politicians from any party would get elected on a platform of slashing entitlements and few Americans would vote for them since so many of us have grown up believing the government is responsible for our financial well being. The sooner we start making tough choices and electing those who will make tough choices the sooner we will save our children from crushing debt and ballooning centralized government.

In the meantime let’s stop kidding ourselves by making heroes out of those whose principles have the life span of a fruit fly.

Jamie Allman is host of “Allman In The Morning: Common Sense Radio” on 97.1 FM Talk in St. Louis. He is a 14-time local-television Emmy winner in investigative and political reporting and a multiple Edward R. Murrow Award winner.