Jim Bunning recently became a villain by using a filibuster to delay legislation. While claimed to be making a principled stand against deficit spending, he played the game rather badly. For example, he made the point that he was suffering by missing a game he wanted to see (easily remedied by a VCR or PVR). This made him seem selfish and lacking in empathy. As another example, when corned at an elevator he came across as an ass.
While I think Bunning earned his infamy, he actually did have a good point behind all his unfortunate antics. To be specific, Bunning seemed to be trying to make the following point: continued deficit spending will hurt the United States and if the folks in congress cannot find the will to pay upfront for this sort of bill, then these folks will never be able to find the will to do what must be done to reign in spending.
While I would not play the game as Bunning did, if this was his point, then it is a good one. Unrelenting deficit spending is an excellent way to contribute to the ruin of America and, as such, is something that needs to be dealt with. If the folks in congress are unable to find a way to provide funds without simply creating more deficits, then there is clearly a need for real change in how congress does things.
However, Bunning’s clumsy and flawed attempts to make his point might have actually hurt attempts at such fiscal responsibility. After all, anyone who attempts to require that funding be provided without deficit spending can now be accused of trying to pull a Bunning. While this is a minor point, it is a matter of some concern.