Schumer's Wall Street Connections

On Chuck Schumer's ambitions:

Schumer thought about running for governor this year but instead leveraged the threat of leaving the Senate to secure a spot on the powerful Finance Committee, which writes the nation's tax laws and, not insignificant, is a perch that puts him in constant contact with the political donor class. "That was my dream," he says. "I always wanted to be on the Finance Committee."

On Chuck Schumer fulfilling those ambitions:

Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a statement that he had spoken with Paulson after the nomination was announced and pledged his support.

"His experience, intelligence, and deep understanding of national and global economic issues make him the best pick America could have hoped for to deal with the difficult economic problems the country faces," Schumer said.

There's nothing wrong with cavorting with the world's financial elite.  The rarefied air is quite fresh, I hear.

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It's Fun to Be on the Right Side of History

We might have just pushed Joe Lieberman out of the Democratic Party and put a whole lot of DC Democrats in awkward positions.  If Joe becomes an independent, we will also have changed the netroots narrative and destroyed the Sista Souljah path to power so common in the Democratic Party since 1992.

First, I think Lieberman is going to jump out of the Democratic Party (Colin McEnroe thinks it's more likely now as well).  Joe's weak among liberals and he doesn't have the numbers to win in the primary.  If you look at the town delegates that voted for Lieberman, you'll see they were in the big urban centers where city machines are strongest.  There was a credentials fight where the mayor of Hartford refused to seat Lamont-friendly delegates (though the conflict was related to the gubernatorial race and the Lamont piece was incidental). In the areas with no patronage - the small towns - Ned cleaned up.  This is very very bad for Lieberman, since it means that the convention dramatically overstated his strength.  

Lieberman is also losing in other, significant ways - he doesn't really have labor support, a prime mover of votes.  Just how is he going to get voters to the polls in the primary?  Who are these Lieberman supporters?  The die-hard Joementum lovers?  There are a few, but not a lot in the Democratic Party.  In early April, I wrote that the Convention was Lieberman's test of strength.

The likeliest path forward for him is to test his strength at the convention, and based on that decide whether to run as a D or an I.  From his perspective, he probably has a better chance in the general against Lamont than he does in the primary, so dropping out and running as an independent might be the most rational move, though it would be costly.  So watch the convention carefully.

If Lieberman drops out of the primary to run as an independent, it's going to be very strange for a lot of stakeholders.  First of all, the DSCC and Senate Democrats will be thrust into some very awkward positions.  Does Lieberman keep his committee assignments?  Does the DSCC come in on Ned Lamont's behalf?  These are questions they should be considering.

This is basically still the dynamic.  There's one other point here, a psychological one.  Lieberman is a Reagan-era Democrat, and he worships at the altar of the 'swing voter'.  He thinks he's perfectly positioned to appeal to that voter, and so with the Republicans locked up he can win as an independent since the independent swing voters are going to come his way.  Of course, his support among independents is crashing, but that will just confuse him, not change his mind.

My guess is that the national party committees are nervously watching Connecticut now.  Howard Dean is on the record saying that the DNC will support the eventual nominee. Lieberman committed to running as a Democrat to Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid, but he won't go on the record about it.  I have no doubt Lieberman will break this pledge, but that doesn't mean his party support will dry up.  Schumer thinks that the DSCC's job is to support incumbents, and it's not clear that he means Democratic incumbents.

My guess is that the DSCC sticks with Lieberman, even if Lieberman jumps to become an independent.  That's just a guess.  They never thought they'd have to be involved here, and may be stuck in a bind.  They also are probably underestimating the amount of blowback from backing an independent Lieberman against a Democratic Lamont, since they don't really believe that we're real.  The DNC will not go with Lieberman if he jumps.  It may stay neutral, or it may come in for Lamont.  This is going to set up an interesting fight should Lieberman look at the numbers and decide that he's better off in a general than a primary.

Regardless, Ned Lamont is now a real candidate, and a legitimate challenger to Lieberman.  There has always been wide expectations that Lieberman would simply crush Lamont.  When Lieberman had the whole Connecticut establishment (including labor unions heads) go to his birthday party and talk about how great he is, one serious DC insider said to me "Matt, Lieberman's a serious guy and a great politician.  You don't know what you're up against.  And watch, there's a lot more coming." Well, I have to say that this convention showed, once again, that the insiders have bad political judgment.  Still, he's right about one thing.  Lieberman has $5 million that he can spend on sliming Lamont, though he probably spent 300k-500k on the convention fight, with all the glossy mailers and food and drink at the expo center.  Lamont needs money, and I hope this convention has proved that his campaign will spend it well.

This is the candidate and the fight we've always dreamed of.  Let's get Ned's back: es?refcode=MyDD

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Schumer is in a Neocon frontgroup.

I believe very strongly that his crusade against the netroots candidates is motivated by support for Iraq war.  I believe they are trying to replace candidates that are strongly against the Iraq war with candidates that are for it, but won't commit vocally in favor of it.  Their latest entry is Acuri in NY.  Acuri won't commit to a position on withdrawal, other than vague statements that he believes the troops should stay until Iraq is stable.   Duckworth is another stand for nothin.   Harold Ford, Schumer's mentoree, openly says he loves Bush and doesn't want a pullout until the job is done.   Please realize, Schumer is a member of a neocon front group named Foundation for Defense of Democracy. He is not all that stealth about his own beliefs, and we should stop being willfully blind to his motivation. Here is some information on Schumer's ties to this group from right web.

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Where's the Strategy on Gay Issues for 2006?

2006 should be a blowout for Democrats.  Given Republican failures, we should easily take back the House and Senate.  Yet Democratic Party leaders are still allowing the Republicans to define the terrain, which means that our chances are totally up in the air.  The GOP is quite public about their election plan, they are going to run on gay adoption and gay marriage, again. They are already taking ethics off the table by suggesting both parties are corrupt, as I said they would, and they are moving to blur the differences on foreign policy.  Democrats are reduced to the 'competence' line, and the Republicans are going to rev up their base with fearful moral values language.  What this means is that while we have huge leads in generic polls, voters may simply pull the lever for their local incumbent.

I asked Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer on a conference call what they are going to do about wedge issues, and their answer was basically 'the Dubai port deal'.  That sounds great, if you can get Bush to try to sell our ports to foreigners in October, 2006.  If you can't, start making another plan.

And let me just point something out.  The immigration rallies should have taught us something - sticking up for your friends and allies is good politics.  I got this email from Paul Yandura recently to this effect.

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on blogging

Let me just add that casting aspersions on my motives as a few of you are doing in the comments is just stupid.  I don't have a personal problem with anyone I write about, I'm just trying to call it like I see it, and sometimes that means describing how Democratic elected leaders are selling us out for pixy dust.  Also, choice is a critical, you know, value, and pushing progressive values is kind of why I'm in politics.  Frankly, I'm continually surprised at how angry commenters get when a blogger criticizes Schumer or other leaders for undermining our values in the pursuit of an unprincipled political strategy.  We are not a monarchy, and you should not expect me to be quiet when I believe we are being sold 'electability' snake oil.  

And to continue this mini-rant, you want to know why Democrats lack vision and principle?  It's because the moment you start talking principles a bunch of whiny insider Democrats and beaten down progressives start screeching 'you can't run on that it's too complicated it stop being mean to Chuck Schumer he's going to win the Senate back for me'.  Well I have news for you - the last person Schumer cares about is you.  Enough is enough.  Stand for something.  And next time you get mad at the Democratic leadership, look in the mirror and try to figure out what you can do better to help push your principles into the political system.  It's not a message issue.  It's not a strategy issue.  It's a guts issue.  Get some courage, and organize, and tell the truth.  That's how immigration is going to be turned, because that community is standing up for themselves.  And in a few months, you'll see that the immigration debate has been shaped, not by message, but by people just like you.

Well I'm standing up for myself on this blog, and hopefully for a few of you out there.  I'm explaining why the Democratic elected leadership doesn't care about us, doesn't want us around, and acts like we are an ATM to be tossed aside.  That means discussing political strategy, and it means criticizing Chuck Schumer, a fearsome and incredibly intelligent man.  But I'm going to keep doing it because he makes really awful decisions that undermine our principles and a long-term viable governing coalition in which we can play a part.  This Casey decision is bad politics on so many levels, but only one of them is electoral.  The reality of our current predicament is that there is no cavalry coming to set things right.  The progressive movement you see right now is it.  And if we can't figure out how to turn this ship around, it's going off into the right-wing yonder.  And if you can't handle this, find another blog.  There are 30 million of them out there.

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