How Chuck Schumer got it done

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After Nancy Pelosi began her second stint as Speaker of the House at the start of 2018, numerous liberal political pundits spent the first half of that year trying to make themselves look clever by bashing Pelosi at every turn. They insisted she’d never impeach Donald Trump, that she was weak, that she’d never get anything passed, and so on. Then after Pelosi did impeach Trump, the pundits lost their favorite talking point – so they instead began trying to make themselves look clever by bashing Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer instead.

That only worsened when Schumer became Senate Majority Leader at the start of this year. From the minute the Democrats won the smallest possible Senate majority, we saw a flood of disinformation about Schumer’s tenure. Liberal pundits know they can’t get away with painting themselves as savvier than Pelosi these days, because everyone has figured out how savvy Pelosi is. But Schumer is still an easy target, because most observers don’t know any better.

But while Pelosi is a once in a generation talent and Schumer is not as savvy in comparison, in reality Schumer is quite savvy in his own right. He’s been working with a 50-50 “majority” with zero room for error, complete with two corrupt Democrats within his ranks who have to be reined in every time.

When President Joe Biden first nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme, Court, Chuck Schumer quickly announced that he had the votes to confirm her. Nonetheless, most pundits (and thus most observers) spent the entire process predicting that Schumer would blow it. But earlier this week corrupt Democrat Joe Manchin announced his “yes” vote, and then corrupt Republican Susan Collins also announced her “yes” vote.

This alone was enough to ensure that the nomination will succeed. With only two potential “no” votes among the Democrats to begin with, and one of them committing to “yes” along with one Republican committing to “yes,” that’s the ballgame. It made corrupt Democrat Kyrsten Sinema’s vote irrelevant, leaving her no leverage for demanding anything in return for her vote.

Of course we’re now hearing the usual defeatist gibberish on social media, such as “I’ll believe it when I see it” (the dumbest phrase in all of social media). We’re also hearing a lot of “Manchin and Collins will still vote no,” as if that were how anything worked. These two didn’t announce their “yes” vote just so they can turn around and vote “no.” They’re corrupt, but they’re not mustache twirling cartoon villains. If they were still looking to play both sides, they’d be speaking in such terms. They know full well that their leverage for getting anything else out of this dropped to zero the minute they publicly committed themselves to “yes.” They’re content with whatever they’ve gotten out of this, so they’ve now locked themselves in.

And so it stands that Chuck Schumer, which his zero vote “majority” and two bought-off corrupt Democrats within his ranks, still managed to pull together enough votes to put the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. It’s a massive victory.

Schumer will, presumably, get very little credit for having pulled this off. After all, Schumer’s savvy goes against the “Schumer is a weak pushover” narrative that so many liberal pundits have spent so much time trying to build their brands around. Liberal pundits will still demand to know why Schumer can’t just wave a magic wand and get other things done, like his Majority Leader predecessor Mitch McConnell did.

But the reality is that McConnell actually had a harder time getting things done in the Senate, even though McConnell had a larger majority. McConnell had extreme difficulty getting Kavanaugh confirmed, and ultimately had to buy Collins’ vote at a high price. McConnell also failed to get his health care legislation passed, no matter how many times he tried. In fact the only major partisan legislation McConnell managed to get passed in two years was his tax scam, which Schumer has already surpassed by getting the COVID financial relief package and the first part of infrastructure passed. Schumer is also confirming federal judges at a faster clip than McConnell did.

Unfortunately, none of those facts seem to matter to a liberal pundit class that has already decided it has to paint Chuck Schumer as weak and failing, in order to paint itself as being savvier than Schumer is. But by numerous metrics, Schumer is getting more done in the Senate, with a smaller margin, than his predecessor McConnell. That should be celebrated. It won’t, but it should.

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