The Capi­tol Con­nec­tion: Some­what dis­ap­pointed in Chuck Schumer

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Alan Chartock is pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at the State Univer­sity of New York, pub­lisher of the Leg­isla­tive Gazette and pres­i­dent and CEO of the WAMC North­east Pub­lic Ra­dio Net­work. Read­ers can email him at [email protected] Alan Chartock

Okay, I’ll ad­mit it. I have been some­what dis­ap­pointed in Chuck Schumer. Put sim­ply, Schumer could have been a lot stronger when it came to get­ting in Don­ald Trump’s face.

After all, Trump is the great­est con­tem­po­rary threat to the Amer­i­can sys­tem of semidemo­cratic gov­ern­ment and to the United States Con­sti­tu­tion. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been car­ry­ing the load while Schumer has been largely, but not en­tirely, quiet. Maybe as the mi­nor­ity party in the Se­nate, he has felt he had to. Maybe he agrees with Trump about China and our treat­ment of Is­rael. But Schumer is a man I have al­ways ad­mired so the best word I can use is “dis­ap­pointed.”

How­ever, I have to say that Schumer has at least par­tially re­deemed him­self. He has had the guts to take on An­drew Cuomo over the mat­ter of Cuomo’s ob­vi­ous at­tempts to kill the Work­ing Fam­i­lies Party. Cuomo, peo­ple sus­pect, is still an­gry with the WPF for en­dors­ing a progressiv­e pri­mary op­po­nent, Ze­phyr Tea­chout, in the past Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial pri­mary; just an­other ex­am­ple of his liv­ing up to the nick­name I have at­tached to him — “Tough Guy An­drew.” An­drew, of course, de­nies what Jay Jacobs, his hand­picked Demo­cratic Party chair, is do­ing to de­stroy the WPF. Some­what disin­gen­u­ously, An­drew says that he ran on the WPF line for gov­er­nor in the last elec­tion.

You would have to be­lieve in the tooth fairy to be­lieve that Jacobs is act­ing alone in his role as a mem­ber of the spe­cial com­mis­sion that was formed to con­sider pub­lic fund­ing of statewide elec­tions as they al­ready ex­ist in New York City. Jacobs seems to be propos­ing a num­ber of “Kill the Work­ing Fam­i­lies Party” (poi­son pill) ideas that we are ex­pected to be­lieve did NOT come from Tough Guy An­drew. Among them is a se­ries of evolv­ing ideas about how many votes a party needs to get a per­ma­nent place on the bal­lot. Up to now it’s been 50,000 but Jacobs has ap­par­ently been propos­ing ex­po­nen­tially in­creas­ing the num­ber to a level of im­pos­si­bil­ity for the WPF to get a prized spot on the bal­lot. The bad boys haven’t stopped there. They’ve got lots of other dirty tricks. The worst of these is to for­bid can­di­dates to run on more than one line.

I am not a con­sul­tant to An­drew. I am but a sim­ple colum­nist/po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist but I can’t help but no­tice that An­drew’s poll num­bers are go­ing down. When I speak to peo­ple and ask them what they think about Cuomo, they al­ways seem to say that he is “not nice.” For his part, Cuomo has been work­ing very hard at his job. That doesn’t seem to make a dif­fer­ence in his be­hav­ior. When he and Jay Jacobs pull this kind of mon­key busi­ness, Tough Guy An­drew’s de­trac­tors only say, “Ah ha, there he goes again.”

It is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing that all of those pri­mar­ily Demo­cratic of­fice hold­ers who have been and will be en­dorsed by the Work­ing Fam­i­lies Party are band­ing to­gether and telling the gov­er­nor to lay off and stop.

That brings us back to Schumer who is noth­ing if not prag­matic. Why would he risk alien­at­ing the Work­ing Fam­i­lies Party that en­dorses him? Ditto the Demo­cratic ma­jori­ties in both the Se­nate and the As­sem­bly. If the com­mis­sion that has the power to im­ple­ment these dra­co­nian pro­pos­als ac­tu­ally goes ahead with the bad ideas, the leg­is­la­ture can pass a bill (sub­ject to a Cuomo veto) that would say “hell no” to Cuomo and his toady Jacobs. Of course, if Cuomo ve­toes, his protes­ta­tions of in­no­cence in the plot to kill he WPF will fly out the win­dow. Then the courts may have some­thing to say about this.

It seems to me that An­drew ought to get smart and cut this out. It just isn’t nice and it sure doesn’t help him.

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