Time once described Jim Bunning, the Hall-of-Fame pitcher and 76-year old Republican junior senator from Kentucky, as "The Underperformer" because of his lackluster record on Capital Hill.
But consider the following (thanks to Wikipedia):
Bunning was also the only member of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to have opposed Ben Bernanke for Chief of the Federal Reserve. He said it was because he had doubts that he would be any different from Alan Greenspan....
On December 6, 2006, Bunning was one of only two senators...to vote against the confirmation of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense claiming that 'Mr. Gates has repeatedly criticized our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan without providing any viable solutions to the problems our troops currently face. We need a secretary of defense to think forward with solutions and not backward on history we cannot change.'
Along with the comments he made today, as reported by Bloomberg in "Fannie, Freddie Rescue Plan May Cost $1 Trillion, Bunning Says," it might also be said that Bunning will eventually be seen as some sort of visionary.
A government rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would require taxpayers to pay "way" more than the $25 billion estimated by the Congressional Budget Office, potentially as much as $1 trillion, Senator Jim Bunning said.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson "hasn't told us the truth about this bill," Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. "Why would you put in a backstop of unlimited amounts of money if you weren't going to need it."
Paulson on July 13 asked Congress for authority to increase credit lines to Washington-based Fannie Mae and McLean, Virginia- based Freddie Mac, buy shares in the firms and give the Federal Reserve a "consultative role" in overseeing their capital requirements. The proposals are meant to restore confidence in the government-sponsored enterprises, which own or guarantee almost half of the $12 trillion of U.S. home loans outstanding.
The House of Representatives is set to vote today on the rescue plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of broader legislation aimed at alleviating the worst housing slump since the Great Depression. Bunning called the plan "horrendous."
"What is good about this bill is the fact that maybe it shores up Fannie and Freddie for a temporary basis," Bunning said. "What it does not do is change the model of Fannie and Freddie. It does not give the regulators the power to make the changes needed in Freddie and Fannie to make them viable entities for the future. That is why I object."