Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Nut Cutting Time

Chuck Schumer, senior Senator from New York, enjoys describing himself as one of Israel's strongest advocates in Washington. He is also lampooned as someone who never met a camera on which he was reluctant to appear. He's also portrayed as the ultimate Obama loyalist, along with his buddies Pelosi, Reid, Durban and Hoyer, although he defends his independence with his opposition to Obama's fast track trade agreements. This is ridiculous.

Schumer has defended the President and slammed Republicans on nearly every major policy initiative during his tenure. He had no issue whatever with using a budgetary technicality called Reconciliation, so Obamacare could pass without a single Republican vote. He has fully endorsed the retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan, and, therefore, bears some responsibility for the growth of ISIS. He has consistently voted for expansion of the exploding Federal deficit, consistently voted against approving the Keystone pipeline and has voted against completion of a border fence between Mexico and the U.S. By implication, he supports the concept of "sanctuary cities", open borders and a path to legalization for illegal immigrants.

But what rises above all is his declaration, over and over, that he is Israel's most vocal supporter in the Senate. We'll soon see.

There is no chance whatever of denying Obama a victory on this Kerry treaty with Iran without opposition from Schumer. He represents 25% of all Jewish voters in the U.S., nearly all of whom are liberal Democrats. Even if there is a successful "no" vote, the bill will be vetoed by Obama. Does Schumer have the courage of his convictions to lead a bipartisan effort to override?

Forgive my skepticism. I say no. He will vote against the treaty's passage on the first vote and WILL NOT vote to override Obama's veto. That gives him the sleazy cover that's become his trademark. He can say he initially supported Israel's interests (thus defending himself against AIPAC and his Jewish contributors), but could not betray the President on an override, thus assuring himself of the primary leadership position among Democrats in the next session. He could become majority leader if Republicans cannot hold the Senate.

It is difficult to imagine that Schumer can maintain any credibility if the votes occur as I have predicted. Unfortunately, it has become today's political reality that adherence to liberal orthodoxy trumps many other interests, particularly in the case of Jewish members of Congress and the Senate. They are so fearful of having to defend themselves against the anti-Semitic charge of having "divided loyalty" that they will bend over backwards to avoid any appearance of such a challenge.

Senators Boxer and Feinstein have announced their support. I don't see a declarative statement on the website of statesman Al Franken. Rep. Jan Schakowky who represents one of the most upscale Jewish districts on Chicago's North Shore, has declared her support.

Schumer is the effective senior leader of the Jewish congressional delegation and many will look to him for the political cover necessar to oppose this treaty. While his support in the past is undeniable, this is - as we say in Texas - nut cutting time. He's either in for the struggle or he's out and sacrifices his remaining integrity in the hope of leading the Senate in a Clinton administration.

Where do you think he lands? Taking courageous "stands" is not something generally associated with his reputation as a legislator.

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