Tag Archives: Chuck Schumer

Schumer headed for minority leader role

Harry Reid apparently has anointed Chuck Schumer as his successor as the leader of U.S. Senate Democrats.

Oh, that’s just great!

Reid, D-Nev., announced he won’t seek re-election next year. Schumer, D-N.Y., mounted a quick campaign to succeed Reid. It worked.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/chuck-schumer-minority-leader-116473.html?hp=rc1_4

It’s not that Schumer is going to be bad for Senate Democrats, or even bad for the country. It’s just that Schumer some years ago inherited a dubious distinction from another senator who decided to retire. The distinction is being identified as part of the “most dangerous place in the world.”

It used to be said of Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, that the “most dangerous place in the world is between Gramm and a television camera.” Gramm left the Senate and handed that unofficial title over to Schumer.

Harry Reid has been called a lot of things; some of them are kind, others are not, depending on who’s saying them. “Camera friendly” isn’t really one of them. He speaks quietly and isn’t known to be a media hog. One cannot say that about Schumer, who’s as garrulous as they come.

Once he becomes leader of the Senate Democrats in 2017 — either as minority leader or majority leader, depending on whether Democrats retake control of the Senate in 2016 — he’s going to be everywhere. Probably at once.

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough said on “Meet the Press” this morning that that he believes Schumer will be a far greater constructive force as Democratic leader than Reid. Scarborough is more of an expert on these matters than a lot of folks. I hope he’s right.

However, we’d better get ready to see a lot of Democratic leader Schumer on our TV screens in the years ahead.

 

Cotton becomes Senate's new media star

Move over, Ted Cruz. You’ve been supplanted as the U.S. Senate’s media star — by yet another new guy.

I never thought Cruz, a Texas Republican, could be pushed aside so quickly. But he has, by another Republican newcomer, Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

All Cotton has done is draft a letter that has infuriated the White House, created a stir in the international community and perhaps given a handful of fellow Republicans a case of the nervous jerks.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/cotton-storms-the-senate-115960.html?ml=po

The Letter, as I like to call it, was sent to Iranian mullahs, advising them to perhaps reject a nuclear disarmament deal being hammered by their government and the United States. Some have suggested the letter violated a long-standing U.S. law, the Logan Act, that bans unauthorized U.S. citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.

Hey, no problem, says Cotton. He’s just doing the people’s will, he said.

As Politico reported: “Though he clearly has media savvy — he runs a guerrilla-like Twitter account that constantly blasts Obama’s foreign policy — Cotton has little regard for the media relationships of his forebears. He declined — three times — to answer questions for this story when approached in the Senate hallways. Instead, Cotton chose a spate of cable TV interviews and an interview with The Wall Street Journal to push his message this week.”

There once was a time when Senate newcomers thought it was better to be seen and not heard. More senior senators used to frown on the new guys gobbling up so much media air time and print space with their rhetoric.

Former Sen. Phil Gramm, another Texas Republican, became known for his penchant for grabbing a microphone. Then came current Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, who immediately became known as a Senate loudmouth.

Cruz, I thought, set the standard for blowhards when he joined the Senate in 2013.

Now we have Sen. Cotton, elected in 2014. He’s been in office for all of three months, but look at him. He goes and writes this letter, gets 46 of his GOP colleagues to sign it, presents to the Islamic Republic of Iran and causes quite the stir.

These new guys all promised to shake things up in the formerly staid U.S. Senate.

Brother, they sure have.

Cruz becomes movement leader

It used to be said in Washington that the “most dangerous place in the world” was the space between U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm and a television camera.

Gramm has left public life and the owner of that title now happens to be another fiery Texas Republican, freshman Sen. Ted Cruz.

According to the San Antonio Express-News headline atop a blog post, the young senator has a movement that carries his name. Call it “Cruz conservatives.”

http://blog.mysanantonio.com/texas-politics/2014/12/cruz-conservatives-abandon-gop-leaders-on-anti-obama-vote/

His ability to muscle his way past more senior Senate Republicans to the center of the political stage in less than two years is utterly astounding. The Cruz Missile exploded on the scene with his GOP primary upset in 2012 of Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, after which it became a foregone conclusion he’d be elected to the Senate from such a heavily Republican state.

These days, if you want some “good copy,” turn to Ted; the glib gab machine is loaded with it. If you want to know what the TEA party wing of the GOP is thinking, ask the junior senator from Texas.

Whatever became of the GOP’s senior pols, such as Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Chuck Grassley of Iowa? Sure, the party has its share of media hounds, such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida (I’ll throw Rubio into that mix, even though he’s been in the Senate only two years longer than Cruz).

To be fair, the Senate Democrats have their share of TV hogs. Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Claire McCaskill of Missouri come immediately to mind.

No one else — in either party — can match Ted the Canadian’s panache.

It used to be said that it took at least half of their first six-year term for senators to figure out the ropes, to earn their spurs and to find their way to the men’s room.

Not so with Ted. The young man is a force of nature — which makes me, at least, want to head to the storm shelter.

 

Thornberry to hit talk-show circuit?

I cannot help but wonder about the exposure U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry of little ol’ Clarendon, Texas is going to get now that he’s positioned to become the next chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

This is a major committee assignment. It involves funding for our troops, the men and women who defend us against bad guys. It involves deciding which weapons to finance and what levels of related financial support Americans will pay.

Thornberry is going to lead a critically important committee when the next Congress convenes — assuming, of course, he’s re-elected this fall. He’ll win re-election. Bet on it.

For almost all of Thornberry’s nearly two decades in Congress, he’s been a proverbial “back bencher.” He doesn’t make much news. He doesn’t hog the spotlight the way, say, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Peter King and Chuck Schumer do.

That might change now that Thornberry prepares to take the gavel from retiring Chairman Buck McKeon.

Those Sunday news talk show hosts are going to want to know the particulars of what the Armed Services Committee is planning for the next Congress. The military has been in the news, as President Obama has announced plans to end our combat role in Afghanistan. There’ll be plenty of discussion of redeploying our military assets. There’ll be talk about a probable reduced military footprint abroad.

These topics will be right in the wheelhouse of the Armed Services Committee chairman. That means you, Rep. Thornberry.

The veteran Republican lawmaker has been sitting on the back bench long enough. It’s time to step up, tell us what you think and where you intend to lead this critical congressional panel.