In the storied tradition of Lyndon Johnson, Mike Mansfield, and George Mitchell, we now are presented with something called a Charles Ellis Schumer.
As Minority Leader he was hapless in mounting any kind of opposition. As Majority Leader he has not accomplished much. Except, of course, his self-touted “most votes ever in a failed impeachment attempt.” Wow. Way to come in second, Chuck, in a two-horse race at that!
If Mitch McConnell had the same numbers that exist for Democrats today, with two senators behaving as badly as Sinema and Manchin have, he’d string them up by the balls to make them fall in line. (Well, Sinema anyway. I don’t think Manchin has anything to latch on to.)
Schumer seems lost. He has no tools, or inclination, to impose the advantage of the majority. And he’s quite comfortable with the aura of defeatism that envelopes him.
As a senator from New York, his main constituency is Wall Street. Their agenda is the Republican agenda. When it’s time for a show of bipartisanship, however, and Democrats gain control of a branch of government, they need someone in charge who is ineffective and doesn’t get in their way. They’ve found Chuck to maintain the status quo.
The great mystery remains the workings of the United States Senate itself. How can a drooling, jello mold loving 90-year-old have the mental capacity to fashion complex legislation? One guess is they can’t. They are mere cardboard cutouts propped up every six years for reelection. The real work is done by the Senator’s senior staff whose personnel are constantly shifting between the private and public sectors. Get the law written the way your industry wants to claim your reward in corporate America.
Then there’s the questions of why it’s so hard to unseat an incumbent or how an individual can become so wealthy pursuing a career of public service. Although it’s always fun to speculate how many millions Dick Blumenthal has made this month in spite of Senator Feinstein’s “Blind” Trust, there’s a real Dylan’s Mr. Jones quality to all of this. We just don’t know what it is.
Finally, when a member of Congress gets in financial disclosure trouble why is it always for such a paltry amount? Like $25,000. Seriously? That will barely cover the cost of Senator Manchin’s penile implant surgery. There’s got to be a lot more money than that changing hands.
What’s missing in the equation is the muckraking and investigative journalism of the past. An expose of of the upper chamber is long overdue. But those who know these things prefer to play the Washington insider game: leverage any damaging information on a politician by not publishing it to gain access to other information they may have.
The deal is to delay the eventual release of the embarrassing details until well after the news cycle has run on the story. The way Bob Woodward did not release anything on the craziness of the President at the height of the of the Trump Virus calamity when it could have informed the public on what was happening. Instead he held on to it for several months to publicize his latest “tell-all” with “explosive, never heard before” revelations.
With the demise of printed news and the Kardashianization of network news, the future of the fourth estate as a check on public officials looks bleak. And with Chuck Schumer’s Wall Street benefactors controlling the news feed, the voice of the people will be further diminished and the playing field even more unequal.
But, I may be wrong. Maybe in a couple of years you’ll walk into their Cupertino headquarters and see the shelves lined with Pulitzers and Peabody’s for Apple News’ investigative reporting on the predatory and monopolistic practices of big tech companies.