Thursday, April 21, 2016

How Odious A Character Is Chuck Schumer? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet


Like me, Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders are both graduates of PS-197 and James Madison High School in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. There isn't much else, though, that Schumer and Bernie have in common. Bernie is a life-long progressive and reformer. Schumer has never had a reformist moment in his miserable political life. Bernie went from serving as mayor of Burlington to being Vermont's independent House member in 1990. He had to fight both corrupt conservative Republicans and corrupt conservative Democrats to win and keep his House seat. He started the Congressional Progressive Caucus in 1991. Their times in the House overlapped but, of course, Schumer never joined the CPC. Progressivism is as foreign to Schumer as communism... or Mormonism. In 2006 Bernie was elected to the U.S. Senate with 65% of the vote. He was reelected in 2012 with 71%. Schumer was already there.

Schumer got out of law school in 1974 and immediately ran for state Assembly. He held the district until progressive icon Elizabeth Holtzman vacated her congressional seat to run for Senate in 1980. Schumer grabbed it and immediately asked for a place on what is now the House Financial Services Committee, the fount of the most blatant corruption in government. He quickly allied with the Wall Street banksters and they helped him beat Brooklyn reformers, totally and explicitly selling them whatever he has that passes for a soul in 1982 in a tough incumbent vs incumbent battle with progressive Steve Solarz. Then, in 1998 Schumer beat Geraldine Ferraro and Mark Green to get the Senate nomination for a Senate seat and he went on to beat the notoriously mobbed-up GOP crook Alfonse D'Amato with 54%. A publicity-hound and dogged careerist, Schumer is widely considered a modern-day version of Boss Tweed, especially in the Senate, where he routinely tells candidates that it's his way or the highway.

Recently he had a run-in of this nature with Admiral Joe Sestak who he tried playing the my-dick-is-bigger-than-yours game with. Basically, he told Sestak that when he (Schumer) says "jump," the only acceptable response is "how high, sir?" That's an odd thing for some draft dodging chicken hawk to say to the highest ranking military officer ever elected to Congress. It didn't end well and Schumer went out and helped recruit an unbelievably incompetent candidate for the primary, Katie McGinty, who has no chance of ever becoming a senator but will sop up Sestak's cash so he can't compete with Toomey. That's how Schumer plays the game. Toomey, of course, is over the moon.

Once Politico or the Washington Post runs with the story I'm about to relate, it will probably be a big deal, but right now, no one knows about it who isn't a DWT reader. If Bernie doesn't win the presidency, he's up for chair of the Senate Budget Committee, something Schumer's Wall Street allies aren't thrilled about to begin with. Early into the campaign, Schumer told him-- in no uncertain terms-- that if he interfered in the Senate races in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida, he could kiss that chairmanship bye-bye. Think about that, while you read this post by Michelle Goldberg at Slate yesterday about how much John Fetterman would like some help from Bernie's revolution. (Blue America has Fetterman on our Bernie Congress page and last I checked a couple hundred Bernie supporters had contributed to Fetterman's Senate run.) Goldberg makes the point that Fetterman "is, like Sanders, a political outsider with a populist and progressive platform that overlaps Bernie's and is anathema to establishment politicians like Schumer and his Schumercrat McGinty. And like Bernie, his money comes in small increments from online donors.
Fetterman’s criticism of McGinty echoes Sanders’ case against Hillary Clinton. “When she ran less than two years ago, she was for $9 an hour instead of $15,” he says, referring to the minimum wage. “She brought fracking to Pennsylvania, and she also supported NAFTA.” She has a massive financial advantage in what is currently the most expensive Senate race in the country, with more than $17 million already spent.

Given the money and political power stacked against him, Fetterman says he needs Sanders’ help to have any chance next Tuesday, the same day as the Pennsylvania presidential primary. So far, however, it has not been forthcoming. There’s been no endorsement, no fundraising support, no joint appearances. Fetterman’s campaign finds this confounding. On the ground, he says, there’s enormous overlap between his supporters and the Sanders grassroots. (“The crowd at the Fishtown brewpub is young, liberal, urban. They rave about Sanders-- and Fetterman,” says a recent Philadelphia Inquirer story.) In a three-way race, he believes, Sanders’ backing could be decisive; Fetterman estimates that he’ll win if he gets 60 or 70 percent of Sanders’ voters.

Right now, that seems unlikely; a poll from early April had him at 9 percent of the vote, with 66 percent saying they haven’t recently seen, read, or heard anything about him, and 63 percent saying they didn’t know what his ideology was. The only ray of hope: When people had heard about him, what they heard made them like him more. Lacking the resources to get on the airwaves, he’s doing as much retail campaigning as he can, including going to Sanders rallies to talk to voters one on one. (The Sanders campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

“To me, Pennsylvania represents the perfectly framed battle within the party war of 2016,” Fetterman tells me. “Untold millions in outside money and establishment endorsements versus the will of Sanders’ grassroots supporters who could, quite literally, pick the next nominee in this state. That nominee, badly outspent, represents a decimated steel town on society’s economic fringe.”

Sanders often says that his audacious agenda depends on a political revolution, one that would sweep progressives into office behind him. So far, however, he’s done notably little to make that happen. It’s not just his failure to support Fetterman; he hasn’t gotten involved in any Senate races. He made his first congressional endorsements just last week, sending out fundraising emails for three female House candidates: Zephyr Teachout of New York, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and Lucy Flores of Nevada. In Wisconsin, a conservative Supreme Court candidate triumphed in part because 11.5 percent of Sanders voters didn’t vote in the judicial election, compared with 4 percent of Clinton voters.

“The president can do very little by him or herself,” says Fetterman. “You need Congress, too, and we could be somebody in the race that supports a lot of the Sanders agenda.” He’s still holding out hope that Sanders comes through: “I’m sitting here with my corsage, waiting.”
There are dozens of candidates running on a Bernie platform who have endorsed Bernie--candidates for the Senate, the House and even in state legislative battles. Some, like Fetterman, are the real deal. Others-- like Shawn O'Connor in New Hampshire, for example-- are frauds just trying to glom onto Bernie's success for themselves. Bernie can't get involved in vetting every one of them and he's smart to leave it to his political revolution to sort it all out. It took some guts to endorse Lucy Flores in a Nevada House race for two reasons. One of her opponents, state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, is at least as progressive as Flores, is far more effective and with a record of accomplishment that drives hers, BUT, has endorsed Hillary and-- and here's where it gets hairy-- is very much the Harry Reid candidate. Reid is pushing Kihuen and I'm sure he would have rather not seen Bernie elevating Lucy's campaign and helping her raise a reputed $300,000 last week, a figure I haven't been able to verify. But Reid is retiring and won't have any say over who does or doesn't become chair of the Senate Budget Committee-- and Schumer doesn't care who wins an obscure North Las Vegas House seat.

Think about the Pennsylvania Senate race and in a little bit I'll tell you what's happened in the Ohio and Florida races where the odious Schumer was so gung-ho that Bernie not get involved in. Meanwhile...
Goal Thermometer

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At 9:45 AM, Blogger Elizabeth Burton said...

Here's the thing. One of the biggest bludgeons the Clinton campaign is swinging is Bernie's "lack of support for down-ballot candidates." This requires those of us who support him to launch into a long explanation of how she doesn't, either, not really; and then we're accused of putting forth yet another example of Hillary-bashing.

Mr. Fetterman is correct. Bernie should be endorsing other progressive candidates publicly, not rely on the rest of us to carry all the weight. We're busy, too, and honestly? How much influence are we going to have? We all know Bernie is busy, but he's also leading a revolution, and leaders have responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is making the revolutionaries know who to trust.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Electability dictates a vote for Joe Sestak.Fetterman is lovely but absolutely unelectable statewide.
McGinty is also very unlikely to win in misogynistic, elderly Pa.

vote for Sestak on Tuesday!!!!

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to push back on the Wisconsin judge. The main loss for her was in territories Clinton won overwhelmingly. Areas that Sanders carried were much closer. The opposite candidate had the same last name as the judge Prosser tried to strangle, so the name had a good aura attached to the wrong person. Lastly, if the Democrats had allowed debates Sanders could have done more education of voters, in this sort of rush it's grab them, register them, drive them to the polls.
I agree that this was a great loss, and there are plenty of things to do to improve next time. The Sanders voters were uninformed, and many either voted for the wrong person or skipped the line entirely. Since judges don't have party affiliations, some of them said they didn't know who to vote for, they were voting straight democratic ticket.
Small point, not really on topic, but I'm a little mother-hen about the rookies.

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Fetterman is unelectable statewide"??? Are you f*cking kidding me? A guy like Fetterman is exactly who we need as our nominee. Unabashedly progressive, plain spoken, yet incredibly bright and articulate on the issues. Hell, I was even present for the foreign policy debate in Erie that Katie McGinty chickened out on, and Fetterman clearly dominated Sestak.

Even the chairman of the state party here in PA has said that he thinks Fetterman will be the best matchup against Toomey in the fall. There couldn't be a more clear contrast between the two, and frankly, having a progressive look the way John does--like a tough guy from Western PA--makes him a great messenger in this state.

Sestak is a f*cking hack who is frankly, not all there in the head, and is notorious for mistreating his staffers both on the campaign, and on the Hill. If he wins the nomination he's going to lose to Toomey again because he can't keep any good people around him.

- Progressive Voter in Bucks County, PA

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

This is all told on Facebook

Fetterman 37 thousand likes
Sestak 19 thousand aggregate likes
McGinty 12 thousand likes

At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am highly suspicious of this
(i like fetterman- but vote for sestak- because mcginty)
pattern i have seen pop up all over the internet the day before the election

it hit hard on reddit and facebook at about the same time of day and i am seeing it show up on unrelated posts like this one days later.

at this point, i have absolutely no doubt that it was coordinated.


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