In the handful of days since Chuck Schumer became Senate Majority Leader, there has been quite a bit of hand wringing and skepticism from liberal activists. Part of that is because Mitch McConnell is still talking as if he were still in charge, in an effort at psyching everyone out into believing that he’s still somehow running the show from his newfound Senate Minority Leader position.
But another part of the hand wringing over Chuck Schumer is because he’s been a prominent figure on the national political stage for a long time, but he’s never had any power while on that stage. Schumer has spent years as Senate Minority Leader, a position where all you really get to do is complain, try to psych the other side out, and beg for scraps.
That’s right, in all the years that Chuck Schumer has been the Democratic leader in the Senate, he’s never been Majority Leader. Contrast this with Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi, who’s had two turns as Speaker of the House, including during these pivotal last two years of the Trump regime.
If Nancy Pelosi comes off as more fierce and savvy, that’s because she is – and we’re sure Chuck Schumer wouldn’t mind us saying so. Pelosi is a once in a generation talent. But Schumer is quite fierce and savvy in his own right. And one of his better skills is that he’s been willing to follow Pelosi’s lead over the past two years, presumably because he recognized that she’s uniquely good at this.
Chuck Schumer is about to face trial by fire right out of the gate as Senate Majority Leader. He’s working with a 50-50 “majority” which brings some procedural differences than if it were 51-49. And he’s about to oversee a historic impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
But Schumer is already rather loudly pushing back against Mitch McConnell’s bluff and bluster, even as McConnell keeps leaking things to the media that are aimed at giving the false appearance that Schumer is caving to him. Schumer is in a position to shine right now, and he’s going to live up to it. So long as you keep in mind that Schumer doesn’t have a magic wand making impossible things happen, just as McConnell never had a magic wand, you’re going to end up loving Schumer. I’d bet money on it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report