Diary

Meet Upcoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

On the heels of [mc_name name=”Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)” chamber=”senate” mcid=”R000146″ ]’s retirement, he endorsed [mc_name name=”Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)” chamber=”senate” mcid=”S000148″ ] of New York to succeed him as Senate Minority leader. By the end of the day, Schumer appears to have locked up the needed support to win. And as it stands, all members of the leadership of the Senate Democrat Caucus have endorsed him and unless something changes, Chuck Schumer will be the next Senate Minority Leader. And if you want a famous quote on Chuck Schumer, here’s it: “The most dangerous place in Washington is between Chuck Schumer and a television camera.”

Here are a few things about Schumer’s record and character, in both the House and the Senate, which should be taken into account to get a glimpse of the man:

  • He is no friend of pro-lifers at all. NARAL Pro-Choice America gives him a 100% lifetime rating and a 0% from the National Right to Life Committee, even before he entered leadership roles. In contrast, [mc_name name=”Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)” chamber=”senate” mcid=”R000146″ ]’s, , voting record developed into a more pro-abortion one from the moment he took the reins from Tom Daschle in 2005. Before that, Reid could be seen as somewhat of a pro-life Democrat (if one could actually believe that-yes, I still remember when Daschle was Minority leader).
  • He was one of the key architects back in 2001-2005 (along with Ted Kennedy [mc_name name=”Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)” chamber=”senate” mcid=”D000563″ ], [mc_name name=”Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)” chamber=”senate” mcid=”L000174″ ], and a number of other members of the Democrats of the Senate Judiciary Committee) of the obstruction through filibustering (by the basis ideology as opposed to qualifications) of many of then-president George W. Bush’s appellate court nominees, chief among them, Miguel Estrada, Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, and William Pryor. While I am sure that many conservatives have genuine Bush fatigue through some of what he did while he was in office, Bush’s court picks were, for the most part, solid picks, and one of the best things he did in office in my view. As matter of fact, right now, it is one of W.’s picks who is keeping Obama’s amnesty from being implemented. And perhaps that is something we should be grateful to W. for and hateful to Schumer (and I suppose I must also blame the late Sen. Arlen Specter and the gang of 14 deal for their role in things as well) for keeping Bush from getting more court picks on the bench.
  • He refuses to acknowledge the fact, that despite 2008 Supreme Court DC vs. Heller landmark gun rights decision grants ordinary citizens who are not members of a militia the right to bear arms, that the 2nd amendment includes the right to bear arms. His voting record clearly reflects it. His lifetime NRA lifetime voting record is 0%. In addition, he also was the chief sponsor in the House of the Assault Weapons Ban, passed in 1994, which was by the Justice Department under Janet Reno (Clinton’s Justice Department) dubbed one of the most ineffective pieces of legislation at preventing deaths from multiple gunshot weapons. In fact, the bill was blamed for Democrats losing control of Congress later that year by none other than…[mc_name name=”Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)” chamber=”house” mcid=”P000197″ ].
  • He has evolved on religious freedom and defending marriage. During the Clinton years, he was the sponsor of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the House, yet is now saying that Christians with religious objections don’t enjoy the same rights that he helped author in 1993 because those rights only apply to Native Americans wanting to smoke Peyote or something, because that was the ‘intent’ of the authors of the law, despite the fact that legislative history is little more than legal fiction (U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s view on legislative history). Like most of the House and Senate Democrats who voted for the RFRA in 1993, he signed a friend-of-the-court-brief with 18 other Senators that, said it was not in the ‘legislative intent’ of the law to be applicable to Hobby Lobby. On the issue of defending marriage, he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 under Clinton, against the Federal Marriage Marriage Amendment in 2004 under Bush, and then finally came out in support of same-sex marriage in the Obama years. Schumer’s been all over the map on religion and marriage, just like the Clintons.
  • He is no friend of Libertarians, either. Reason.com has compiled a list of the numerous things that he has tried to ban (besides guns) over the years to include video games, fast food bread, yogurt, yoga mat chemicals, and payday lending. In short, he is Mike Bloomberg on steroids.
  • And don’t remind me of the number of times Schumer has acted as a concern troll with regards to immigration towards the GOP.
  • Schumer was aggressively behind in pushing through Obamacare in 2009 and 2010, only to come around in late 2014 and criticize the approach that it was used in passing it, saying a load of stuff like we “we had a mandate to help the middle class and we blew it on health care, which wasn’t really a problem” and it was the “wrong problem.” The White House correctly observed that Schumer was more interested in electing Democrats that doing anything else.
  • Schumer’s ties to New York’s financial sector have been met with criticism from the Moveon/[mc_name name=’Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’W000817′ ] for President/Occupy Wall Street Wing of the Democrat Party (even though Warren herself has endorsed him for Minority Leader) to the point where they set up another futile petition. To be sure, Schumer is no Free Market Capitalist, given his opposition to reforming the tax code, but he is another Crony Capitalist/ Big Government Capitalist. And there is a big difference there between what we might consider capitalism and what the left considers capitalism. Schumer is the latter. Big distinction.
  • Another place where the left has repeatedly been not found of Schumer is on Middle East foreign policy (he voted for the war with Iraq in 2003, only to flip-flop on it later, like most of his party), particularly with regards to Israel and Iran. It should also be noted that Schumer is a frequent speaker at AIPAC (which is probably the source of why many of the left just can’t stand the thought of him as Minority Leader, as many of them them have certain conspiracy theories that are banned on this site and that might just be more a testament to the unhinged nature of the far left than Schumer’s views on Israel). A couple of questions that I have that I still cannot seem to have satisfactory answers to: Will there be a substantial shift in the policy on Israel and Iran of Senate Democrats after Obama has left office? Or will Schumer merely be a figurehead who will not influence caucus policy one way or another and the Senate Democrat Caucus will be just be as it was towards Israel post-Obama as it was during Obama’s rein? Or will Schumer’s future office assignment cause him to evolve to the left on Israel and Iran? I suppose only time will tell.

Conclusion

Given that about a third of House Democrats now come from districts in either California or New York, it is fitting that their leaders in Congress be from those states. As for how Schumer’s leadership style will change, he will probably be more partisan than Reid. I personally expect more blunt and less tact and just as much obstruction as from Reid. Reid said that “I’d rather dance than fight, but I know how to fight” back in 2005. For Schumer, I believe that straight-up fights are his specialty. He is not shy that he is hard liberal on abortion, gun control, immigration, and he enjoys being in the fray and on TV. However, what stands out about him is that he has ties to Wall Street to the point that he has drawn the ire of the left on both economic issues and he is better on Iran and Israel than Obama (not that that is a high bar to climb). While I want to wish that Senate Democrats will be good on foreign policy dealing with Israel with him at the helm, there is always the concern that he might evolve once at the leadership position. If his position on religious freedom has evolved given the right pressures, does it not stand to reason that given the right pressures, (and there are a lot of people in the Democrat party in his state and the country who do not think that Israel has a right to exist) that he might evolve on Israel?