BUNNING THREATENS NRSC LAWSUIT…. In light of Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) increasingly erratic behavior, and likelihood of defeat next year, the Republican establishment has practically been begging Bunning to retire. So far, he’s only responded angrily and refused to back down.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, worried about losing a winnable seat in a deep “red” state, is quietly making alternate arrangements. Just this past weekend, NRSC officials met with State Senate President David Williams (R) over the weekend, apparently to talk about a primary challenge to Bunning.

Today, Bunning said he’s prepared to sue his party.

Sen. Jim Bunning is vowing to fight back as his feud with Republican leadership over his 2010 re-election bid spills into the national political scene.

If Republican campaign organizations tried to recruit another candidate to run in Bunning’s stead, “I would have a suit against the (National Republican Senatorial Committee) if they did that,” Bunning told reporters on Tuesday. “In their bylaws, support of the incumbents is the only reason they exist.”

For what it’s worth, NRSC Chairman John Cornyn of Texas said the party would back Bunning in a contested primary, just as it would with any incumbent. But in some ways, Bunning is missing the point. The NRSC doesn’t have to officially throw its backing (and resources) to a primary opponent; it will probably just signal its support for the challenger, making it clear to the Republican rank and file that Bunning has lost the respect and support of his party.

By threatening a lawsuit, Bunning is making the NRSC’s job easier, reinforcing fears that the senator’s behavior has become something of an embarrassment.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.