Saturday, December 31, 2016

Would The Senate Democrats Be Better Off With Schumer Or With A Steaming Pile Of Pig Poop As A Leader?


I don’t remember Jason Zengerle having been at James Madison High School in Brooklyn. In fact, even if he did go to school there, it would have been many years not just after Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Bernie Sanders, but many years after I went was there at the same time as Norm Coleman and Chuck Schumer. And in his new feature for New York I don’t think he meant too write a story about what an inadequate pile of crap Schumer is for the job of Democratic Senate Leader. I suspect it was meant to be a paean to the retiring Harry Reid— trying to prepare his Democratic colleagues to battle Trump without him— another slimy character, like Schumer, but one with , unlike Schumer, some saving (political) graces. “Shell-shocked Democats,” he wrote, “wouldn’t have Harry Reid around anymore to help them deal with this new nightmare” of Trump, McConnell and Ryan running there entire show. “To Democrats, Reid was indispensable — not only the man who helped them win back control of the Senate in 2006 but also the party insider who encouraged Barack Obama to run for president and, later, the parliamentary wizard who helped pass Obama’s legislative agenda.”

Compounding the loss of Reid is the sack of garbage he’s leaving behind: Schumer, a ruthless and corrupt congressman who became the single most corrupted Wall Street stooge in history. He’s taken more in legalistic bribes from the banksters than any non-presidential candidate ever. These are the current totals (since 1990) of Finance Sector “contributions” to their half dozen biggest puppets in Congress:
Chuck Schumer- $26,213,631
Mitch McConnell- $11,890,851
Paul Ryan- $9,261,692
Rob Portman- $9,013,382
Richard Shelby- $8,446,508
John Cornyn- $8,303,966
I’m sure you noticed that the sleazy Schumer has taken more in schmears from the banksters than Majority Leader McConnell and House Speaker Ryan combined— $26,213,631 to their $21,152,543. Wall Street is careful with their investments; they know which crooked politicians they’re buying and where they’ll get value. Reid didn’t take nearly as much Wall Street bribery— “just” $6,263,688 (almost $20 million less than Schumer). “In many ways,” continued Zengerle, “Schumer was the perfect complement to Reid. ‘Senator Reid never cared about messaging and he sure as hell didn’t care about polls,’ says Jim Manley, Reid’s former communications director, ‘but Schumer certainly thrives on that stuff.’ Unlike Reid, Schumer also had good working relationships with many of his Republican colleagues. More than anything, though, Reid — who grew up in abject poverty and moonlighted as a Capitol police officer to put himself through George Washington law school — admired Schumer’s hustle.” And then came the “but.”
But the job that Reid had in mind for Schumer when he anointed him as his successor isn’t the one Schumer will actually be doing. “Schumer would be a very good majority leader under President Hillary Clinton, and that’s what he thought he was signing up for,” says one prominent Democratic strategist, noting how aggressively Schumer waded into several Democratic Senate primaries in 2016. “He made the calculation that he wanted to win the Senate with people who were easily tamable and then he could be a majority leader like LBJ, just ramming things through.” As a minority leader with a Republican in the White House, however, Schumer will have a very different task — and there’s concern among some Democrats that he might not be cut out for it. “Chuck will go to the ramparts on an issue when it’s polling at 60 percent, but as soon as it gets hairy, he’s gone,” says one senior Democratic Senate aide. “Chuck wants issues to have no negatives, but it’s the Trump era. He’s looking at polls ­showing 60 percent for the Carrier deal” — in which Trump persuaded the company to keep a furnace plant in the U.S. in exchange for $7 million in tax breaks — “and thinking to himself, Maybe we should support that.”

Indeed, in the days immediately after Trump’s victory, Schumer sought common ground with the president-elect. Other Senate Democrats soon followed suit. Even Elizabeth Warren, who had spent the presidential campaign taunting Trump, pledged to work with him on increasing economic security for the middle class. Much of this was, presumably, typical morning-after posturing, but Reid was nonetheless alarmed. Three days after the election, he released a statement branding Trump “a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate.”

“What I was trying to say,” Reid told me, “is, ‘Be careful, because this is not all fun and games. The stuff he has said has been hateful and disruptive and crude and not helpful to anybody, and so be careful what you agree with him about.’ ” Adam Jentleson, a top Reid adviser, puts it more bluntly: “He was standing athwart the normalization of Trump, yelling ‘Stop!’ He wanted to show Democrats that this is how you should be approaching things.”

The message was delivered, but even though Senate Democrats, including Schumer, have since struck a more defiant tone toward Trump and the GOP, they haven’t been as defiant as Reid might have hoped. Schumer, in particular, has continued to signal a willingness to work with Trump. “We’re not going to say no to something just because Trump’s name is on it,” says Matt House, a Schumer aide. “If people are concerned we’re going to work with Trump, they’re concerned we’re going to work with Trump on things Democrats have been fighting for for a long time. People need to pay attention to the nuances.” But the question remains whether those nuances will be lost on some of Schumer’s Democratic colleagues.

Nearly two months after the election, Senate Democrats are by all accounts unprepared and without a coherent strategy when it comes to opposing Trump’s agenda. Should they obstruct at all costs, even if it grinds government to a halt, and risk criticism that they’re just as partisan and ruthless as Republicans were under Obama? Should they partner with Trump in areas where he disagrees with GOP orthodoxy and hope that voters reward them as the party out of power? Should they prioritize delegitimizing Trump and winning 2020 — or defending vulnerable Senate seats in 2018? It is in the Senate where, theoretically, Democrats have the best shot at countering almost total Republican dominance of Washington. But to be effective they will need to be ­tactical and tough, and it’s likely they will be missing Harry Reid a lot.

One of Reid’s greatest skills as his party’s leader in the Senate was keeping his caucus unified. That’s a task that will be especially crucial under Trump: With ten Democratic senators from states Trump won up for reelection in 2018, the temptation for some of them to peel off and vote with Republicans — to demonstrate they can be reasonable — will be strong.

…Had Reid decided not to retire, it’s quite possible the upcoming term would have been the most significant of his career. Trump’s claim of a mandate notwithstanding, significant parts of the GOP agenda remain unpopular, from privatizing Medicare to deregulating Wall Street. Reid would have led the fight against the president. “It would have been two guys who don’t really care about, to borrow the phrase, ‘traditional norms’ and customs going at it,” Jim Manley muses. “It really would have been something to see.”

Instead, we are about to witness the most significant term of Schumer’s career. He has already earned the allegiance of Democratic senators by naming a number of them to newly created leadership posts. (“It’s like Oprah,” jokes one Senate aide. “You get a new leadership post! And you get a new leadership post!”) And it’s likely that Schumer will hold the caucus together during the confirmation process for Trump’s nominees. Senate Democrats appear to be unanimous in their opposition to Tom Price, Trump’s choice for Health and Human Services secretary, and they hope to raise such a ruckus about Medicare during Price’s hearings that at least three Republicans decide to vote against Price, too, thus handing Democrats their first scalp of the Trump era.

According to various Senate aides, Schumer doesn’t believe his party has a chance of torpedoing any other Trump nominees, but he hopes to make their confirmations as bruising — and, with smart floor management, as prolonged — as possible. (Schumer himself declined to comment.) “The goal will be to show the public how controversial these nominations are,” explains a Senate Democratic aide. Similarly, Schumer can expect to have the unanimous support of his caucus in pushing for a select committee to investigate Russian hacking of the election, and thanks to his bringing several Republicans onboard for that effort, he’s made it more ­difficult (or at least more uncomfortable) for Mitch McConnell to stop them.

But those are the easy parts. The battlefield becomes more perilous for Schumer as Trump and his party move on to other parts of their agenda. Again and again, the New York senator will be faced with the question of where and how often to use intransigence as a strategy. That his primary congressional adversary will be McConnell raises the stakes further, as the Kentucky senator has proved to be an even more ruthless majority leader than Reid was before him. It was McConnell’s singular insight that, even if Republicans were responsible for the lack of bipartisanship and the resulting gridlock, it would be the party that controls the White House that takes the blame for it. This nuclear strategy won back all parts of government from a president and party that was historically popular at the time McConnell cooked up his plan. But will Democrats have the stomach to stymie Trump in the same way McConnell and his fellow Republicans blocked Obama?

Schumer has signaled that he’s open to backing Trump’s infrastructure package — in part on the merits (this country could use some infrastructure spending) and in part because it might turn off enough Republicans that Schumer will have some leverage over a president eager to get points on the board. “Infrastructure will really test how much Democrats are willing to hold out for a good deal versus any deal,” says one Senate Democratic aide. Obamacare will be another tricky fight. Schumer and the Democrats will obviously oppose any effort to repeal the health-care law, but the crucial battle won’t occur until Republicans try to replace it. Some Democrats are already dismayed that Schumer hasn’t done a better job of firming up commitments from Senate Democrats that under no conditions will they vote for an Obamacare replacement. “You’ve got to establish your leverage early and make it clear to Republicans that it’s a ‘You break it, you bought it’ situation,” explains the same aide. “If you don’t lock down Democrats on that position early, before the repeal bill passes, you leave yourself vulnerable to things developing in such a way that makes it harder for Democrats to maintain their opposition.”

And then there’s the budget. Trump has promised to increase defense spending; it’s likely he won’t propose a similar increase in domestic spending, and it’s possible he’ll actually seek cuts. Schumer will face an agonizing choice in how he tries to get Democrats to respond: Go to the mat in opposing such a budget and threaten to shut down the government — knowing full well that by doing so, Democrats will run the risk of losing seats in 2018 in the states Trump won? Or acquiesce?

“You can get talked out of each individual fight, and you can make the case that in every one of these instances, Democrats should cave under pressure and go along,” says the aide. “But if we do, we’ll have allowed Trump to have a functional first year that completely devastated Democratic priorities in the process.”

“The problem with Democrats is that we believe in legislating,” laments Jim Manley. It’s a sanctimonious thing to say. But would Democrats really vote against an Obamacare replacement — as bad as it might be — to spite Trump if by doing so they’d throw the American health-care system into crisis? Would they vote against a budget bill that slashes domestic spending if it meant shutting down the government?

Sometimes. And sometimes they won’t. The question confronting Democrats is whether Schumer will demonstrate instincts as canny as Reid’s. And when a fight is engaged, who will emerge as a leader who can see it through? “There’s no natural person,” concedes a senior Democratic staffer in the Senate. “It’s not Chuck’s nature. Both Bernie [Sanders] and Warren are more interested in shaping the party and the fights that we choose” — which means they’ll often be battling with Democrats as much as Republicans—“and Durbin has an instinct, but we’ll see how much he’s able to rally other people.” Reid, who’s reluctant to offer much advice to his fellow Democrats (at least publicly), nonetheless recognizes the urgency of the issue. “Senator Schumer — or somebody — will have to be willing on a consistent basis to say no,” Reid told me. “You know, stand up there and say, ‘I object.’ ”

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At 6:55 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

All i'll say with Schumer taking over for Reid expect more of the same.

At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Would The Senate Democrats Be Better Off With Schumer Or With A Steaming Pile Of Pig Poop As A Leader? "

Was this headline issued by the Department of Redundancy Department? Schumer IS a steaming pile of pig poop, for he feeds on the swill dumped by the swineherds of Wall Street.

At 7:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would only add that painting a difference between harriet reid and chuckie scummer is just as redundant as painting a difference between either and a steaming ocean of pig shit.

The pig shit is better. At least, in small doses, it can be used to fertilize crops.

Neither harriet nor scummer has any useful value at all.

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You needn't so egregiously insult perfectly competent, steaming piles of pig poop across the country!!!

John Puma

At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harry Reid's 2015, billion dollar tax break for Darden Restaurants, the company that previously threatened its workers who voted for Democrats, pretty much tells you everything you need to know about how 'liberal' this man was. But don't worry, the Washington Post says today the Democrats are moving to the left. At least they have a sense of humor about the self destruction of the Democratic Party.

At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pig shit smells better.


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