Tuesday :: Nov 16, 2004

Schumer Grows Gonads

by pessimist

A while back I wrote a post about three Northeast Democrats - Dodd, Corzine, and Schumer - who were looking to leave the Senate because their egos couldn't be satisfied. I'm glad to report that Schumer has publicly recanted that desire.

Schumer Says He Won't Run for Governor

Senator Charles E. Schumer on Monday ruled out running for governor of New York in 2006, saying that he would instead help lead the Democratic Party's efforts to retake the Senate.

All it took was a good ego stroking!

Mr. Schumer, 53, who was just re-elected to a second term with a record 71 percent of the vote, made his decision to stay in Washington after seriously considering a jump to Albany, in part because of the diminished role of Democrats in the Senate.

But top Democrats vigorously campaigned to keep him in Washington, promising him a spot on the powerful Finance Committee and persuading him to lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee through the midterm elections of 2006.

He has to do better than his predecessor!

Mr. Schumer's new appointments in Washington raise his standing at a time when Northeastern liberals have become politically marginalized and New York's largely Democratic delegation in Washington finds itself sidelined in Congress. "It elevates him to the top ranks,'' said Howard Wolfson, a Democratic political strategist who has advised New York lawmakers on Capitol Hill. "He is now simultaneously occupying two of the biggest seats at the Democratic table.''

As head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Mr. Schumer will have an instant national platform, with control over a huge campaign war chest and a direct hand in shaping the Democratic agenda on Capitol Hill. In many crucial respects, he was a logical choice for the job, political strategists say. Not only did Mr. Schumer win re-election by a historic margin, but he did so with roughly one-third of the Republican vote in New York, underscoring what many strategists say is his keen eye for issues with bipartisan appeal.

"Senator Schumer is tough, focused and a formidable fund-raiser,'' said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, who will be elected minority leader this month. "We need him on our leadership team.''

Schumer has hinted in the past that running for president was somethin he was considering. These last few paragraphs indicate this is what he's thinking by agreeing to remain in the Senate. He would be very high-profile in these roles, and in another that will be the subject of a lot of media coverage:

In addition to his seat on the Finance Committee, Mr. Schumer will keep his role on the Mb, where he has become the Democrats' point person in opposing some of the Bush administration's judicial nominees and where Democrats are girding for a possible fight over Supreme Court appointments.

This raises an interesting situation. Assuming Arlen Specter finally gets the Chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, something I doubt from some of the emails I get begging me to assist their efforts to deny Specter that role, could the Northeast form enough of a bloc to prevent the Christian Fascist sub-Party from running roughshod over America's courts? We'll see - many facets of this remain unsettled.

But there is another sign that Schumer might well play a positive role in the future of the Democratic Party. The Toppers - at least on Wall Street - like him - BIG!

Mr. Schumer has been particularly adept at tapping a network of donors on Wall Street as well as other players in New York's securities and banking industry. Mr. Schumer was able to amass more money than any other Senate candidate - roughly $26 million for a race in which he faced no serious opposition. Democrats are clearly hoping he can do the same for the party.

We all know that money buys influence, and that the role these senior investors play requires that they have a lot of foresight in what's coming in the future - their investors don't want any costly surprises. There have been many economic issues recently (some of which I've posted) that have to concern these people. They wouldn't be giving so much money to Schumer if they didn't see any benefit to it. But it might not just be international finance that has their attention - they might well have known this was coming, assuming certain electoral results:

The pressure on Mr. Schumer to stay in Washington was great. It was, in fact, Mr. Reid who phoned Mr. Schumer on Nov. 8 and urged him to take the helm of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee through the midterm elections, according to Congressional officials. In that conversation, Mr. Reid also offered Mr. Schumer a seat on the powerful Finance Committee.

Mr. Schumer has made no secret of his desire to join that committee, mindful that the last New Yorker to serve on it, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was able to use the position to funnel billions of dollars to the state, particularly to its economically beleaguered hospitals. "I have dreamed of getting on the Finance Committee since I got to the Senate,'' Mr. Schumer said on Monday.

Remember - the $26 million in contributions came before the last election, and only now is Schumer going to be on the Finance Committee. I certainly would be hard-pressed to make any connection between the two. I certainly don't know enough about Schumer's voting record or other Senate committee appointments that might have influenced the investors to back Schumer so lavishly. Maybe some of you New York readers can illuminate this for the rest of us.

But for now, I'll go with two things that the investors must have thought in supporting Schumer. One: they like him and his attitudes on finance issues. Frankly, this is a good thing if we are going to break the stranglehold Bu$hCo has on this nation right now. Two: Bu$hCo economic policies must be frightening those who really know how the money flows, and they are seeking to win over those politicians - like Schumer - who can understand what is needed to reverse the damage Bu$hCo has caused to the national economy. Thus, their economic support was - like everything else they do - an investment in future profitability. They might well see a need to derail Bu$hCo, if only to save their own wealth.

If that's what it takes to get the support of the Big Money, I'm all for it. But I think we need to be negotiating with these men about supporting certain of our issues as well. If the issues were framed along the lines of financial benefit to them, I think they might well listen.

So we now need to keep an eye on Senator Schumer, for he will play a major role in the future of the opposition to Bu$hCo.

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pessimist :: 6:35 AM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!