Good luck with that, Jim

I’m not smart enough know whether bailing out the auto industry is the right move for America, but I do know one thing: if I had just participated in scuttling it, I wouldn’t be making a beeline for a public appearance in Michigan. I guess that’s just one of the many points upon which Jim Bunning and I differ:

He may be losing his marbles, but U.S. senator and ex-Tiger pitching great Jim Bunning still has big brass cojones.

After all, most of the GOP senators conspiring to kill a House rescue package for Detroit’s auto companies wouldn’t have the guts to set foot in Michigan this week, much less hawk their autographs to beleaguered Michiganders at $55 a pop.

But Hall of Famer Bunning — a vocal opponent of the auto loans — will do both of those things Sunday when he journeys to the deepest heart of UAW country.

He’ll sign baseballs ($35), posters ($45) and jerseys or gloves ($55) from noon to 2 p.m. at the Gibraltar Trade Center in Taylor . . .

. . . Taylor Mayor Cameron Priebe, who said he’d written Bunning a personal note imploring him to reconsider his opposition to the auto rescue package, was stunned when I told him Bunning would be in town to sell his signature.

“I doubt he’ll have many takers at $35,” Priebe said. “But as soon as I get off the phone with you, I’m going to call the UAW and see if I can’t arrange for 5,000 of his biggest fans to be there when he arrives.”

It’s been nice knowin’ ya, Jim.

(thanks to Neate Sager for the link)

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  1. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    just awesome!  I’d LOVE to see the crowd, er MOB, by that signing.  Torches and pitchforks all around!

  2. chuck said...

    nice.  maybe he planned to give the money to bail out the auto industry….  yeah, that’s it…  he himself is gonna bail out the auto industry by selling his autograph…

  3. MooseinOhio said...

    I always thought that guys who hawked their autographs where hurting for cash as they hadn’t found second career success.  However becoming a senator is like winning the lottery with all the perks and benefits so apparently Bunning is just a money grubbing A%$.

  4. Sara K said...

    I just heard a U of MD economist say on NPR that the bill failed not because of Republican senators, but because of the UAW’s refusal to accept wage cuts.  I paraphrase his reasoning: Why should the tax dollars of a waiter making 30K/yr go toward bailing out workers making 89K/yr with benefits the likes of which the waiter will never see?

    I don’t know enough about economics/labor to evaluate this, but I do understand rhetoric enough to know how well that reasoning is going to go over among the populus. It’s gonna get ugly.

  5. tadthebad said...


    You really think that logic won’t translate?  I’m no economist either, and I don’t support a bailout for the Big 3, but that statement makes sense, doesn’t it?  The issue for me is, where was that logic when we were discussing rescuing banks and those employees?  A waiter at 30K doesn’t want to pay for an auto worker making 89K, but the waiter does want to pay for executive bonuses/healthcare/etc @ 6 figures plus?  Apples and oranges as far as industries maybe, but the point remains that the average worker probably doesn’t want to fork over more dough to resuce those already a step ahead of said worker.

  6. Sara K said...

    I can’t talk about executive salaries much without sounding like a total socialist. It’s completely outrageous.  Thing is, he wasn’t talking about executive salaries, he’s talking about union labor.  The union wouldn’t agree to pay cuts for its workers, and the bill (he said) failed because of it.

    Whether UAW workers are overpaid is an issue I am thoroughly underinformed about.  I just find it interesting that the argument essentially is trying to get labor groups to squabble amongst thenmselves, which to me seems like a lose-lose situation. That’s the part I see as not going over well.

    I wonder if, hypothetically, it was the sports industry at issue.  Would the public accept a bailout of the owners whithout demanding that players’ salaries go down?  Apples and oranges, I know…

  7. tadthebad said...

    OK.  I don’t happen to think you’ll see people get all riled up over an economist trying to “instigate” an inter-class war, if you will.  All people will see is the money issue… ie. “you make more than me, so I vote no for the auto bailout…I don’t care if you are part of the same socio-economic class.”  Interesting thought, though.

  8. Aaron said...

    UAW guy in a job bank: “You cost us our jobs, Senator.”

    Bunning: “No, your companies’ compensation packages and shitty cars cost you your jobs.”

  9. themarksmith said...

    As a man from KY and one who has actually sat down and had a conversation with Bunning, the man lost his mind years ago, and we keep electing him. Oddly enough Chris, there’s a lot of complaints about both senators in KY, but we keep electing them. I have no idea why, but we do. I like to think of it as Southern Charm.

  10. Chris Kash said...


    I’m a native Kentuckian, born in Ashland, graduate of EKU and lived in the Lexington area for years. I’ve met McConnell and he is a douchebag of the highest order. Bunning is a complete wack job and the smear campaign he ran against Mongiello (sp?) in 2004 was a travesty. And I say this as a registered Republican!

  11. Leo Walter said...

    Sara says :” Whether UAW workers are overpaid is an issue I am thoroughly underinformed about.”  Do you think that it would be possible to inform your self a little more before putting you two cents in on a complex subject like that ? The Republicans do NOT want you to know that any dollar per hour amount they put on UAW workers’ pay includes all costs paid to retired workers health and pension plans.Notice also that never mentioned is the fact that the state of Tennessee gave Volkswagon over $ 500 million of incentives to locate there,which were taxpayer dollars.Now,because of the world wide economic slow down,the parent company is asking Germany to subsidize some losses.Also never mentioned is the fact that the foreign auto makers have been given over 3 BILLION in incentives by the states and the Federal Government combined to assemble their units in the US,which also has come form our tax money.So,try to keep up to speed before criticizing.All this is nothing but class warfare by the Republican Party against the middle class in this country !

  12. Steve Johnson said...


    Sara was not out of line.  Whether UAW workers are overpaid vs her original assertion of why tax money should go to them are two completely different arguments.

    Your political rhetoric, however, is out of line as are your strawmen of other examples of government market intervention.

    And FYI, the 70+ dollar an hour claim is based on active and not retiree compensation according to the Companies’ SEC filings.  The Union claims this amount includes the total compensation, on average, to all active and retired personel on a per-hour basis.  The Union’s statement contradicts the official books and has gone unsubstantiated by the Union itself.  They seem unwilling to make any further attempt at substantiation.

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