Thursday, April 09, 2015

Reid Surrenders His Sword to Schumer; Caucus Concurs


Harry Reid (left, in red) surrenders control of Senate Democratic
caucus to Chuck Schumer (right, back to the camera)

by Gaius Publius

This is what happens when "party unity" or "caucus unity" trumps policy. We get Chuck "Wall Street" Schumer as the next Minority Leader — because Harry "But I promoted Elizabeth Warren" Reid helped put him there. So did "progressive" Patty Murray. And according to reports, so did nearly every other Democratic senator. (Does this mean Jeff Merkley? Sherrod Brown? Al Franken? Who knows — they haven't raised their heads.)

Washington Post a few days ago (my emphasis throughout):
Harry Reid endorses Chuck Schumer to succeed him as Senate Democratic leader

Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has endorsed Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to succeed him after he retires at the end of 2016.

"I think Schumer should be able to succeed me," Reid said in a Friday morning interview at his home in Washington's West End.

Reid predicted that Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat in leadership and a close friend, would win the Democratic leader post without opposition. He said that the other likely contender, Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), would stand down for Schumer. ...
But what about that "Warren Wing"?
Seemingly comfortable with his decision to not run for re-election, Reid said the liberal wing of the Democratic Party should have faith in Schumer, whose ties to Wall Street fueled his fundraising prowess and helped Democrats win the majority in 2006 and expand it to a super-majority in 2009. Those ties have some liberals questioning whether Schumer should lead the party, but Reid said that Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would serve as the torch bearers for the populist wing and hold the caucus's feet to the fire.
No snark from me; it's already in the quotes (look for the word "faith"). Reid wants to elevate the enemy of economic populists so the populists can be "torch bearers." But not to worry; they can "have faith" in Schumer while they hold those torches — and Schumer looks the other way.

Durbin and Murray Also Endorse Schumer

Dick Durbin is the ostensible number-two person in the caucus, after Reid, which means he's getting leapfrogged. Apparently he's fine with that:
But by mid-afternoon, Reid had endorsed New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, no. 3 in the current hierarchy, as his chosen successor — and Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin’s office made it clear that the Illinois senator would also back his colleague and former Capitol Hill roommate. ...

Durbin, according to his spokesman, also has the support of Reid to seek another term as the party’s whip.
What about Patty Murray? She's the only woman in the Senate in a strong leadership position, and a senator who sometimes votes progressive (and sometimes not; she's an anti–Glass-Steagall senator after all).
[D]uring the budget session, Reid, for a time or two, appeared to be looking on as his three longtime lieutenants —Durbin, Schumer and Patty Murray of Washington — worked through the process of wrangling over amendments.
Turns out Murray is also a Schumer-enabler; she endorses Schumer and will not run against him:
Patty Murray Backs Schumer for Leader

Having won the backing of the entire leadership team, New York’s Charles E. Schumer might become the next Senate Democratic leader by acclamation.

Conference Secretary Patty Murray, D-Wash., has joined in endorsing Schumer for the top job when Nevada Democrat Harry Reid retires at the beginning of 2017, according to a Murray aide.

“Senator Murray spoke to Senator Schumer several times over the past few days and told him that she planned to support him for leader next Congress and looks forward to continuing to be his partner in Senate Democratic leadership,” the aide told CQ Roll Call.

Murray has long had a large portfolio within the Democratic caucus, and she’s likely to only expand on those responsibilities in the next Congress.
Thus Murray makes three. Any objection from anyone else? Hearing none — done deal. Don't worry about Murray, though. She has "long had a large portfolio" within the caucus, is "likely to only expand on those responsibilities." So there's that. Fair trade perhaps? She'd likely say yes.

Where's the Rest of the Caucus?

But don't let the rest of the Democrats off the hook. The same piece linked at the top tells us that Schumer "might become the next Senate Democratic leader by acclamation." And the Post earlier told us that Schumer "already has secured overwhelming support of members of the caucus." So it's on them all until one of them raises her objecting head and says, "But ... wait."

Party Capture by Insiders, Thanks to Harry Reid

This is what we get when we vote for Democrats. Party unity and hyper-"collegiality" way too much of the time. Women and men eager to sell out progressives and play "Follow the Neo-Liberal Party Leader." So long as their "personal portfolio" is expanded, of course. Good for Patty Murray. Not so good for us.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray (WA)
playing "Follow the Neo-Liberal Leader"

Color me pained to be saying this, but there it is. Insiders helping insiders keep outsiders out — meaning us. It feels like progressives have just lost the Senate, thanks to Harry Reid. Is this "our" party? Doesn't look like it from here.


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At 5:02 PM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Shit is fucked up and bull shit.

At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

qouth G.P. 'It feels like progressives have just lost the Senate, thanks to Harry Reid. Is this "our" party? Doesn't look like it from here.'

In actuality, progressives never really had the party, much less the senate. Up until somewhere in the Carter admin, the party LISTENED to progressives, but policy has been driven by fear (soviets then muslims then soviets and muslims) and money since Eisenhower took his first oath.

Money utterly pushed progressivity out of the party during Clinton. It was abhorrent for a democrat to sign GLBA, CFMA et al, but to actually be a driving force for it, FTAs, GATT, WTO et al can only be characterized as total betrayal of all Democrat principles.

Reid the meek must be remembered for his utter corruption and total acquiescence to big money, most notably to PHRMA and MEDIC during his pathetic song and dance pretending to try to craft an obamneycare that gave everyone health CARE. By deed, instead, he gave everyone's profit potential (via denial of care) to the corporate lobbies that wrote the bill.

The job of the senate D leader is, today, a tightrope act. One must SAY a certain amount of liberal and progressive catchphrases while actually DOING only what the big money demands... and hopefully bamboozling enough idiot D voters to offset the cadre of hardcore Nazi voters who will always show up and vote for whatever regressive imbecile their primaries create.

"Our party?" Hasn't been a party of the majority in the middle since probably Carter. The last sensible policy from a D prez was his energy policy... which was utterly repudiated when Reagan returned us to the big oil paradigm... and The DLC was formed to share the big money and QED with Rs.

Schumer will be a better tap-dancer than either Durbin (prone to unfortunate episodes of clarity, after which he always apologizes) and Murray (openly neoliberal and too inarticulate to bamboozle very many about it).

Warren has potential, if she stays long enough to get some tenure and realize it... but her open support of clinton2016 and her silence wrt this ascension are troubling. Without her and only a couple of others lighting fires under D candidates, there will be zero incentive for them to address the concerns for the middle half of voters who have nobody to look to for representation.

The D party is only marginally different than the R party. It's also owned by and serves only the big money. This will not change... probably ever. The only CHANGE will be the ever dwindling number of voters who will show up.


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