12 Reasons Not to Trust Chuck Schumer
Sources said Schumer has agreed to Senate Majority Leader-in-waiting Harry Reid's request that he stay on as head of the Democratic campaign committee for another two years, partly to counter the growing influence of liberals like Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.
Reid and other party bosses believe Schumer's middle-of-the-road strategy in recruiting a fistful of moderate candidates to knock off GOP incumbents in red states is the only way for Democrats to hold onto or increase their power.
"You have to save the party from not drifting too far over," Schumer told The Post yesterday.
Officials determined the best way for Schumer to play that role is to stay on as the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee until the 2008 elections, a decision the Brooklyn lawmaker committed to yesterday.
I was on a blogger conference call with Harry Reid the other day. He asked what structural, organizational improvements the Senate Dems could make to improve coordination with the netroots activist community. I told him it was not a matter of structure: we share enough email lists together, and our thoughts are pretty much there for all the world to see online, 24/7. I told him instead it was a matter of trust. He didn't much like that answer.
But just to give him a bit of background about why I say trust is an issue, let's talk a little bit about his DSCC Senate Dem consigliere, Chuck Schumer. Here are twelve reasons not to trust Schumer, in no particular order:
1. Discouraging grass roots Paul Hackett over Sherrod Brown, even though we generally like Brown (there is a bad taste over his Military Commisions Act vote, and some seem unable to forgive him).
2. Selecting Casey as a cautious pick in PA against the weak Santorum. Casey is good on economic populism but has the minority national view on choice.
3. Working against Tester in the primary, before getting on the bandwagon in the general election.
4. Propelling the weather vane opportunist Harold Ford in Tennessee. We understand that TN is TN, but Ford was just not someone we could rally around (because he campaigned against us), and we do not accept the notion that we must try to be kinder, gentler Republicans to win in traditionally red areas (see Tester).
5. Chuck refused for the longest time to talk about Iraq, and told us we should not do it, though we were right. We don't esteem his strategic judgment.
6. Chuck sits on the board of a neocon think tank. We feel this compromises him on Iraq and Iran, and in general, on matters of military adverturism and foriegn policy.
7. Chuck, when he has spoken to us, speaks to us with barely veiled contempt, or so it comes across. He sees us as a media conduit for his grand strategy, and we just can't be controlled that way. We're not Limbaugh or Fox News. It's not any personal disrespect that rankles: it's his basic contempt for grassroots voters whose efforts he later trumpets as his own victories.
8. Chuck went AWOL and became livid on Judiciary when Feingold pulled his censure thing. I understand Feingold was freelancing, but he was also propelling an aggressive accountability agenda when Chuck and the DSCC were doing anything but. Our base wanted an aggressive accountability agenda, and on the politics, the results this week proved us right.
9. Rather than build a gracious public narrative acknowledging all the work done by the grassroots and the netroots, including, for example, the massive GOTV calling (7 million calls!) done through MoveOn, Chuck went on a PR offensive (with Rahm) to take all credit for the election's gains, weaving in a "conservatives won, not the liberal base" narrative. He threw us under the bus. The NY Post article above is but one example.
10. Chuck and the DSCC were at war in public with the DNC in a way that weakens the party and which failed to give sufficient credit to Dean's 50 state strategy after the election. Chuck comes across as a very planful egoist and not a team player, and one who fundamentally believes he knows better than grassroots voters do.
11. All this, and I have not even gotten to Lamont. The DSCC only offered to send email for Lamont under duress, late in the game, after being called out in front of party activists. They abandoned Lamont: more of those behind the scenes details will be coming out very soon. Chuck's contempt for the grassroots has been nowhere more evident than in the Lamont case (we'll hear more about Harry Reid, too when those stories break).
12. Chuck's donor base is heavily weighted to the NY downtown financial heavyweights, and we strongly suspect he won't be good on middle class or working people's issues, as in the Bankruptcy Bill.
I realize there's a lot of pushback online in the last day or so to do kumbayah in the party, to paper over history. Even Markos penned a front page post that implied some in the netroots are trying to claim the campaign committees did nothing at all of use in this election cycle, which just isn't true, at least, not around here. Howie Klein makes a post-election case I'd personally endorse here, though we've also done quite a bit of our own writing right here at FDL.
This may seem like infighting, and in a way it is. . . but those of us from the Roots aren't responding in this fight to make a dollar. We get no payment out of this. All the financial incentives are on their side (a problem to address another day).
Instead, we're fighting the post election narrative the DC/K Street Elitists are promoting because it's a lie about what happened in Tuesday's election designed to disempower you, dear reader. We fight this fight so you can get the credit you deserve. If we can successfully fight their false narrative, they have no public justification to sell you out over the next two years.
We're fighting this fight because you showed up and made things happen Tuesday, and as your allies, we're using our online platform to hold the Democratic Party accountable to all of us, the voters who made Tuesday's victories happen.
Stay tuned. . .