Malaka Of The Week: Jim Bunning


Senator Jim Bunning’s one man crusade to deny unemployment benefits and medicare paymentsended yesterday.He’s the clear cut choice for malaka of the week but Bunning is a special kind of malaka. Some malakas are made and may even grow out of it but Jim Bunning is a natural born, lifelong bona fide malaka. Just call it cradle to grave malakatude…

I’m just old enough to remember the rag end of Jim Bunning’s baseball career. I never saw him at his best but the announcers of the day were fond of talking about what amazing stuff and control he had just a few years earlier. But none of them ever said, “And Jim’s a helluva nice guy too.” It was an era of hard ass pitchers but Bunning’s equally ferocious peers like Marichal, Gibson and Drysdale all had people willing to swear they were great guys off the field. Not so Jim Bunning. His nickname was the Lizard, which if you notice the picture above fits: he looks cold and reptillian.

Bunning spent the first nine years of his baseball life with the Detroit Tigers. When he was traded to Philadelphia after the 1963 season nobody on the Tigers complained about losing their ace pitcher in exchange for two mediocre players who couldn’t carry Bunning’s jock. Why? Even then Bunning was a malaka and had worn out his welcome with all concerned. The collapse of the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies is legendary and part of it was due to malakatude. It’s unclear as to who was the biggest malaka in the clubhouse: Bunning, manager Gene Mauch or psycho slugger Dick Allen. Those three co-existed for four years, which is the stuff of psycho-biography and beyond my meager talents. I have no idea if Bunning and Allen ever talked politics but it would have been interesting: the latter liked to give the impression that he was Huey Newton in cleats.

It’s amazing to me that anyone with Bunning’s uber irascible personality was ever elected to public office. That’s where the baseball superstar thing came in handy I suppose. The thing about Jim Bunning is that he not only doesn’t give a rat’s ass what you and I think of him, he doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks of him: it’s one of the reasons it took him so long to make the Hall of Fame. Unemployed workers losing their benefits? Federal employees furloughed? Tough shit and get the hell our of this elevator, you shithead reporter: it’s for Senators only. Another of my favorite moments from Bunning’s long and loud fade-out from the Senate:

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Hey, at least Bunning was polite in a rude sort of way. He did keep saying “excuse me.” Of course, coming out of Bunning’s mouth it sounded like “fuck you.” And given the fact that he flipped these reporters off when the cameras weren’t running, I think he had invective on his mind: “Namby pampy, candy ass, panty waist pinko cocksucker reporter’s not getting on my fucking Senators-only elevator. I’m Jim fucking Bunning, fuck you, you pissant motherfucker.” Hmm, maybe I should volunteer to write some speeches for Senator Bunning. He could use a few visual effects though. I know, he’s a retired ballplayer: I wonder if he still chews tobacco? If he does he could spray spittle all over the librul fucking media and shit eating Senatorial libruls. He’s a one man tea party demonstration…

It’s going to be interesting, in a rubbernecking at a car wreck sort of way, to watch Bunning’s last year in the Senate. Not only is he a lifelong and deeply malevolent malaka, he’s an embittered one. The only thing he hates more than libruls is Chinless Mitch McConnell who Bunning blames for squeezing him out of his Senate seat. My Senators, Landrieu and Vitter, hate one another but they’re best pals compared to Mitch and the Lizard. They’ve transformed the Blue Grass state into the Red Ass state…

They don’t make ’em like Jim Bunning any more. Thank God for that. I gotta admit that I’ll miss him when he boards the train to malakaville and leaves office. He’s good for the satire biz. I expect him to throw some brushback pitches and knock down some more reporters before he’s done. Bunning’s malakatude runs deep and true. I salute him with an index finger extended to “honor” a natural born malaka. Uh oh, I’m starting to sound like Oliver Stone, which means it’s time to either shoot the next set-up or end this post…

6 thoughts on “Malaka Of The Week: Jim Bunning

  1. What really got me about the elevator scene – he was demanding an act of respect from them while dripping disrespect towards them.

  2. You can blame a ton on Bunning, but the 1964 collapse wasn’t his fault. Mauch pitched Bunning and Chris Short repeatedly with almost no rest. The tighter things got, the more he pitched them. At a certain point, Mauch should have backed off and given both guys about a week’s rest and then gone after those last couple elusive wins. Instead, he kept sticking them out there and they became completely ineffective.
    Still, the record for his stint in Congress speaks for itself. What a malaka…

  3. Mauch was a malaka as well. Bunning wanted the ball: he still has an inflated opinion of himself, after all.

  4. And I think 1963 was also the year Detroit picked up Denny McLain – who I feel would have also made stellar senatorial material in his own rather unique way 🙂

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