Newly anointed Senate Minority Leader, Charles “Chuck” Schumer, has had plenty of practice during his lengthy tenure in Washington, D.C. at picking his battles and these days he’s picked a big one. Of late, the senior senator from New York has engaged himself in a game of plagiarizing pages from the Republican playbook in his effort to lead the charge against our incoming President-elect, Donald Trump. For years, President Obama and his dwindling cadre of spineless yes men and women in our nation’s capital have whined to no end about the apparent GOP master plan of “just saying no” to the president’s radical leftist agenda. Now, with their wings clipped, the Democrats find themselves in a powerless position not unlike that of the Republicans in the early days of the Obama administration. Faced with few options to choose from when waging war against any and all perceived threats, Mr. Schumer has decided to just say yes to the “just say no” strategy.
Throwing all pretense of principled obstructionism to the wind, Mr. Schumer has taken it upon himself to vigorously oppose any and all cabinet nominations fielded by Mr. Trump. There’s a time and a place for the legislative branch of our government to fully embrace its role as a check against executive abuses. But Mr. Schumer doesn’t seem to understand the difference between holding a president accountable and simply jamming up the machinations of government out of petty spite.
Mr. Schumer has his work cut out for him. Rather than targeting a few of the most unsavory nominations of our incoming POTUS, he has decided to fight all of them tooth and nail, vowing to delay or derail as many as possible if the process fails to proceed in accordance with his demands. At present, he has his sights set on Mr. Trump’s picks for Secretary of State, Secretary of Education, HHS, OMB, EPA, the Department of Labor, etc. For all the bluster from the Left about Republicans shutting down the government, the senate Democrats lead by Mr. Schumer seem content to not allow a government to be formed at all.
Keep in mind, it’s not an accident senate Republicans under Mitch McConnell’s astute leadership have scheduled so many confirmation hearings in such a short period of time; eight nominees will face multiple hearings this week alone. Mr. Schumer is in the unfortunate position of being very publicly outplayed by his counterparts across the aisle. They’re deliberately overwhelming him and he’s struggling to keep up, a pathetic spectacle to behold.
And what of Mr. Schumer’s expectations for the confirmation process? He hides his antipathy for Mr. Trump’s cabinet picks under a righteous veil; he says the American people deserve an open hearing and no nominee should be forced too quickly through the gears of congress. This is all well and good in theory, but in reality, it is equally likely, perhaps even more than likely, that his righteous veil is instead a superficial subterfuge meant to mask personal and political frustrations.
A few short years ago, outgoing Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid, triggered the “nuclear option”, and wiped out four decades of precedent by removing the requirement that a super-majority of sixty senate votes is necessary for the successful confirmation of judicial appointments and cabinet nominations. Triggering the nuclear option reduced the requirement to a simple majority. As with most, if not all, bad ideas, at the time it seemed like a good one: The Republicans had perfected the “just say no” strategy and were standing firm against several of President Obama’s nominees to the US Court of Appeals. By way of an archaic, parliamentary parlor trick, Mr. Reid changed the rules to make confirming the president’s nominees easier. It was a triumph and the Left loved it while the Right lambasted him for being a shifty little weasel. But at the end of the day, it was a myopic maneuver on the part of Mr. Reid, one that, as we speak, is haunting his successor in the upper house of congress.
Mr. Schumer can, until he’s blue in the face, insist the American people deserve better than a hurried confirmation process. But the truth is, his motives aren’t pure. In sum total, he’s no different than any of his fellow Democrats, in fact, he’s a perfect microcosm of the whole party. He’s desperate and outnumbered. He’s indignant and rude. One of the only powers remaining at his disposal is the ability to make noise and muddy the waters with ceaseless obfuscation and distortions. He has most certainly outlived his usefulness. And worst of all, his longtime friend, colleague, and ally, good old Harry Reid, shot everyone in the foot for immediate gain, and because of his small-minded short sightedness the Republicans are now in prime position to push through the President-elect’s cabinet picks without having to drum up the previously requisite sixty votes. Harry Reid had the good sense to get while the getting was good after the damage was done, and in so doing he stuck Chuck with a bill he can’t pay. Some friend.
Mr. Schumer is now on one of the biggest stages of his life and he’s losing, and he knows he will completely lose by the time all is said and done. It must be one hell of a blow to the ego and we must always keep that in mind when assessing the stated priorities and concerns of our elected representatives, regardless of party affiliation. Their job isn’t to make our lives easier, it’s to make their lives easier. If they fixed our problems they’d be out of a job; their real purpose is to make sure our problems persist so they can retire after thirty or forty years of “public service” and maybe get a fancy bust or portrait in the Capitol Building. People in those positions aren’t to be trusted because they can’t be trusted, the very nature of their profession demands they be ruthlessly self-serving. The primary concern of any elected ruler is achieving re-election, which means they’re going to say whatever they think we want to hear and they’re going to do whatever it takes to win another term. They’ll shake your hand and/or step on your face and not necessarily in that order.
Senator Charles Schumer has been playing the politics game for a long time, he knows how to say what voters want to hear, enough voters, that is, to keep him in power for some thirty years. No one stumbles into elected office, such an achievement is the culmination of premeditated and carefully choreographed ingenuity in action over periods of time. Mr. Schumer has, over many years, done everything within his ability to retain a position in the halls of power, and now it threatens to drag him into a miserable morass of public failure and inferiority under the hegemony of his lifelong rivals.
Bravo, senator. The joke’s on you.