Sunday greetings, all you Wonkers who are inexplicably not off doing three-day weekend things! That includes Yr Dok Zoom, so here we are with another of our Senate Sunday Spectaculars, where we look at one of the 2016 U.S. Senate races, including even the likely blowouts, which are still fun because there’s always interesting stuff to find out about the candidates. Since we’re all star-spangled and Independencey this weekend, let’s look at a state where the Revolutionary War got rolling! Massachussetts, home to Lexington and Concord and the Tea Party and Paul Revere’s Ride, when he was firin’ those guns and ringin’ those bells to protect our Second Amendment rights, doesn’t have a Senate seat in play, so let’s go with New York, home to Fort Ticonderoga and the battles of Saratoga and Harlem Heights, and the first battle after the Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s defeat in the Battle of Long Island, which the Yankees lost to the Redcoats in extra innings (oh hush. We know where Yankee Stadium is, but there was no Battle of the Bronx).
The pretty much untouchable senior senator from New York is Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid’s personal choice to succeed him as Minority Leader. Or as seems likely given the human skidmark at the top of the Republican ticket, if Democrats retake the Senate this fall, Schumer would take over as Majority Leader. He’ll want to wash that gavel carefully, given that turtles carry salmonella.
While it sometimes feels like Schumer has been in the Senate forever, that’s only because he’s on TV all the time, plus he served in the House from 1981 until his 1998 ascent to the Senate. (Trivia buffs will note Schumer’s House seat was then won by a young up-and-comer named Anthony Weiner. Whatever happened to that fellow?) Now seeking his fourth term in the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body, Schumer has pretty much been in politics his whole life, getting elected to the New York State Assembly right out of law school in 1975, at the tender age of 25, without ever actually doing any lawyering.
Other important Schumer information to be gleaned from his Wikipedia page (shut up, it is a holiday weekend, and we certainly weren’t about to read his 2008 book) is a fine quote from Bob Dole about Sen. Schumer’s fondness for publicity: “The most dangerous place in Washington is between Charles Schumer and a television camera.” Which of course also reminds us of Chuck Schumer’s strangely leering visage popping up behind Sasha and Malia Obama at their dad’s 2012 inauguration. Wikipedia primly notes that this was not technically a “photobomb” as Schumer was “standing in the correct place.” Now, aren’t you glad we got that settled?
Politically, Schumer has a reputation as a “centrist,” which means whatever you want it to at any given moment. He’s in favor of stricter rules on gun ownership, and last August, after another goddamned shooting at a movie theater, held a press conference with his cousin Amy to call for strengthening background checks. He also walked over from the Senate to join the recent sit-in by House Democrats to demand universal background checks and an end to the No Fly List loophole. Schumer also sponsored a bill to financially punish rich Americans who give up their citizenship to escape taxes, like that one Facebook guy did, calling the bill the “Ex-Patriot Act,” which we can certainly get behind. It never went anywhere, but it did at least piss off Grover Norquist, which is always a mitzvah.
Oh, yes, and Schumer is Jewish, which people keep noticing for some reason, like the nice Arkansas state senator (and U.S. Senate hopeful) who definitely didn’t mean anything by it when he called Schumer “that Jew” — it was simply a neutral description. Schumer created rather a to-do last summer when he came out against the Iran nuclear deal because he said it was bad for Israel. Just in case the fact that he’s Jewish and pro-Israel wasn’t enough to get the point across, some gun-humping anti-Semite figured “Schumer” didn’t sound Jewish enough to be scary, as names go:
You have to admire the genius of someone who’d add “-stein” to an already-Jewish name, and who uses “bullet holes in metal” graphics on a flag. Damn these Aryan supermen and their intellect!
On other issues: Schumer has a 100% rating from NARAL, supports broad consumer protections, and supports pay equity for women. On t’other hand, he tends toward the hawkish on foreign policy, and is very, very close to the financial industry. Nobody’s going to mistake him for Bernie Sanders.
Also, he once called a flight attendant a “bitch” when she asked him to turn off a cell phone, for which he apologized, but come on, you don’t do that. As Wonkette’s Jim Newell wrote at the time,
Oh man. If the official spokesman‘s statement actually admits guilt and refers to it as an “off-the-cuff comment under his breath,” that means that in reality — factoring in the Damage Control Spin Adjustment — Chuck Schumer probably got out of his seat and screamed “FUCKING BITCH!!!” at her dozens of times while waving his wiener in some old granny’s face.
Schumer also wrote this very strange line in his 2008 book, which was enough to make Alex Pareene stop paying attention to the Newsweek excerpt:
Biking through New York’s boroughs in 2005, I thought about some old friends, Joe and Eileen Bailey. Though they are imaginary, I frequently talk to them.
Speaking of imaginary friends, look at who the Republicans have picked to go up against Schumer: Wendy Long, who was still in debt from her failed 2012 run against junior New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand when she announced her candidacy. Her initial campaign filing showed she had just $122 cash on hand, compared to nearly $25 million for Schumer — and that was back in March.
Long is mostly famous as the failed candidate who rightwing Bag-O’-Smarts Dinesh D’Souza believed in so very hard that he wasn’t content to merely donate the federal limit of $5,000 to her. No, he had to go and find straw donors to give her another $20,000, for which he reimbursed them. It was a touching display of loyalty and political commitment and campaign finance law violations of the felonious kind. D’Souza has insisted from the beginning that he was prosecuted not because he pretty blatantly and clumsily broke the law, but because the Obama administration was out to get him for his brave shrieking bullshit movies about the evils of Barack Obama. The wingnuttosphere joined in, and explained that obviously D’Souza was being punished for making the best anti-Obama propaganda ever. The Daily Caller even pointed out the administration’s clear hypocrisy and selective prosecution:
[“2016: Obama’s America”] is currently the second-most-popular political documentary in American history behind “Farenheit 9/11,” a 2004 movie by leftist documentarian Michael Moore which thrashes the foreign policy of Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush.
Bush administration officials never indicted Moore.
Damn, that’s some double standard, all right, if you leave aside little details like Michael Moore probably not having asked pals to make illegal campaign contributions. In any case, D’Souza pleaded guilty, just to prove what a tyrant Obama is, and went on to his new career as America’s Solzhenitsyn, documenting the horrors of being in a day-release detention facility where he was forced to walk sadly along the beach like a felonious J. Alfred Prufrock.
So with a big-name supporter like that — we’ll assume D’Souza’s already sent his single $5K donation and will stop at that — Long ought to be doing great. She’s hitched her hopes to the Donald Trump campaign, sending a May fundraising letter with this creative pitch:”In a blue state, I’m counting on Donald Trump to help me tell Chuck Schumer: You’re fired.” Clever! She rejected the idea that Trump will hurt down-ticket candidates, and even said that Trump was such an inspiring figure that, with his nomination and winning the presidency almost a sure thing, Trump actually
emboldened me to jump into the 2016 election to take on Chuck Schumer, the poster boy of the professional political class in Washington whose chokehold on our country Trump will break.
Dead Breitbart’s Home for Sputtering Umbrage thinks Long is the bee’s knees, and gave her a platform to explain how Schumer
really is a big phony. He holds himself out as a champion of the middle-class…when everything he has done for his entire political life — and by the way, he’s never held a job in the private sector, he’s been in public office for forty years, since he got out of college — everything he has done is to undermine economic growth, to weaken American sovereignty and our borders, to weaken America and to use the heavy hand of government against its citizens. He’s the one who turned the IRS against citizens who just trying [sic] to express their First Amendment rights
And in this year of the Trump Revolution, she’s pretty certain she can overcome little handicaps like having no money and no discernible support from prominent Republican consultants — Politico notes she still owes some of the heavy hitters money from 2012 — and win by appealing to Real Americans. Sean Hannity endorsed her, for instance, and she’s also spoken to the New York chapter of Oath Keepers, that everyday ordinary mainstream patriot group that wants to overthrow the government and hang John McCain by the neck until he loves America enough. She got some predictable cheers for attacking Schumer as an enemy of the Holy Second Amendment; the New York Oafs used the event as an opportunity to name Schumer to its “Dirty Dozen” of “Marxists and Communists” who hate America. So it looks like she’s found her niche.
Also in the 2016 race is Green Party candidate Robin Laverne Wilson, whose own campaign website bio starts out terrific but then closes by making her sound like the Greeniest Green to ever run as a Green:
I was born in Detroit, Michigan and was raised in San Antonio, Texas. My father was retired US Army Sergeant First Class combat medic who served in Korea and Vietnam. My mother was a homemaker and then worked as a domestic as my father’s health declined from his exposure to war and agent orange. I migrated to the NYC Metro area in 2003 and graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University. I have been proudly anchored in Brooklyn for the last three years. I am currently pursuing an MA in Applied Theatre from CUNY School of Professional Studies, and have committed my life to using art and culture for profound social-political change.
Darn it, she almost had us, but now all we can see is giant Euro-protest puppets.
Want to throw some money at the Democratic Establishment for some reason? Chuck Schumer’s donation page is right here! Feel like raising some leftwing hell and earnest street theater? Robin Wilson’s donation page is here! Want to support Wonkette’s ongoing weekly countdown of 2016’s U.S. Senate Races? Throw some monetary love in our tip jar over here!