The Chuck and Huck Show

Say, have you noticed how often Chuck Schumer has been nuzzling up to Lindsey “Huckleberry” Graham lately?

There’s their plan on immigration reform which, among other things, calls for a national biometric ID card.

And there’s a bill to pressure China on currency manipulation.

I raise this for two reasons. First, Huck’s efforts to institutionalize indefinite detention thus far lack a real legislative champion. At the same time, Chuck’s flip-flop on 9/11 trials in NYC was one of the key reasons that plan failed. So I worry that Chuck will be the guy who gives Huck’s Constitution shredding a liberal face (and why not, if you’re already instituting national ID cards).

Of course, this is all happening against the background of a potential Majority Leader fight next year if Harry Reid loses his re-election bid. Chuck seems to be prepping a run on bipartisan effectiveness. With an eye at least partially on the Majority Leader run, after all, Chuck negotiated a deal with Orrin Hatch that ended up being the only jobs bill passed this year (though of course it won’t really do squat for jobs because it is far too small, and it may well endanger social security in the long run.

I have long thought Chuck would make a badly flawed (because Wall Street owns him, and because his moral compass blows with the wind) but effective (because a significant proportion of Senators owe their seat to him, and because he has the ability to throw big fundraising dollars to Senators) Majority Leader. Moreover, no matter whether I like it or not, I do think he’s the most likely person to replace Reid, if it comes to that.

Which is why I think it all the more important to start cataloging the way that Chuck’s efforts to rack up a quick record of bipartisan success compromise on bedrock Democratic principles.

You know … things like the Constitution.

48 replies
  1. Arbusto says:

    Anyone would be a better Majority Leader than Reid, except Shumer. All you state is spot on; only problem is he and Obama would get along famously, both blowing in the wind and scampering endlessly for that darn bipartisan thingy.

  2. Leen says:

    Schumer undermining Holder’s decision, one of the Dems to give us Mukasey, the Iraq war, radical policies having to do with the Israeli Palestinian conflict. And let’s not forget Schumer claims to have led the effort to knock out Charles Freeman. Have never been sure why some progressives get excited by Schumer

    Agenda of Schumer
    “Yesterday, Schumer proudly boasted of the role he played in torpedoing the Freeman nomination on the ground that Freeman made “statements against Israel” that Schumer deemed to be “way over the top.” Along those same lines, Politico’s Ben Smith baselessly granted anonymity to someone Smith described as “an official at a major Jewish organization,” who hid behind his anonymity and thundered: “What [the failure of the Freeman nomination] showed is that there’s no place for that kind of hostility to America’s closest friend and most loyal ally.” And Antony Loewenstein notes that neocon fanatic Daniel Pipes is sending out mass emails crediting indicted AIPAC official/espionage suspect Steven Rosen with being the catalyst of the anti-Freeman campaign.”

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I have this vision of Chuck trying to ward her off with a cross…then bursting into flames himself.

      Boxturtle (Perhaps if he uses a Star of David…)

  3. Mary says:

    Keep in mind, too, for all the Fitzgerald love, that we almost got a really independent prosecutor who could have made big stinks with Congress, on Plame. Even Lieberman was wanting a kind of revival of independent counsel rules and alot of Republicans didn’t want – at that particular point in time – to look like they were approving the outing of a CIA agent. It’s Schumer who cut the deal with Comey to keep the investigation all very limited in scope and all inside DOJ.

    • Leen says:

      “It’s Schumer who cut the deal with Comey to keep the investigation all very limited in scope and all inside DOJ.”

      Had no idea. To think that Schumer was part of the team to protect those who purposely outed an undercover CIA agent. And then joined up with Rosen to make sure that Charles Freeman got the boot.
      “The assault on Charles “Chas” Freeman Jr., a former ambassador tapped to lead the National Intelligence Council, is the first blow in a battle over the Obama administration’s Middle East policy. Steven Rosen, a former director of the American Israel Political Affairs Committee due to stand trial this April for espionage for Israel, is the leader of the campaign against Freeman’s appointment. In his wake, a host of critics from the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to the New Republic’s Marty Peretz have emerged to assail Freeman’s comments on Israeli policies and demand that Obama rescind the diplomat’s appointment. The campaign against Freeman spread to Congress, where a handful of representatives including the top recipient of AIPAC donations, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), called for an investigation of Freeman’s business ties to China and Saudi Arabia.”

      Charles Freeman responds to those who took him out
      “Freeman lashed out at his critics Tuesday evening, releasing a statement blaming “the Israel Lobby” and “unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country” for his exit.

      “The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth,” he said. “The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.”

  4. JTMinIA says:

    If Chuck Schumer’s behavior is surprising to you, then I have three words you: attorney … general … Mukasey.

    • sluggahjells says:

      Heh…..Harold Ford? Or maybe Mort Zuckerman.

      You have to rule out Dan Senor, since he said he does want to run against Gillibrand.

  5. sluggahjells says:

    You’ll only see this very accurate analysis on Schumer here and ONLY here.

    You won’t even see on some NY blogs/sites.

  6. BoxTurtle says:

    Don’t mind so much the biometeric ID card anymore, it’s obvious the government can get everything it wants via other means.

    And there are practical advantages to me, such as reduced chance of id theft and a reduction in the number of cards in my wallet.

    Yes, it will be used to identify illegals. But that’s a nit, the real problem is that our overall policy on immigration is fubar. And the GOP has hit on a note that resonates : “We must secure our border first”.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. Show me a 30ft wall, I’ll show you a 35ft ladder. But that doesn’t matter to the muddled masses and GOP will continue to flog that issue at every teaparty. We need to kill these side issues. Obama had the sense to kill that silly fence, but that just made the Secure our borders crowd sillier.

    Then we can have a debate on the REAL issue in immigration: Scary brown people!

    Boxturtle (Ya notice the northern border is hardly ever mentioned as an issue?)

    • emptywheel says:

      If a self-respecting Democrat is even entertaining the possibility of real ID< they should, at the same time, be requiring automatic voter registration for every single eligible American.

    • beowulf says:

      I’ve never figured out why politicians like to freak out people with something new when there is something that already exists that the public is comfortable with and that would do the job just as well. For example, who knows what a “public option” or an “insurance exchange” is? On the other hand, Medicare is a known commodity that everyone is familiar with and most people have firsthand knowledge of friends or family members who are happy with its coverage.

      A “biometric national ID”, geez, it sounds like we’re bringing back the draft. And yet the State Department already issues biometric national IDs that everyone has at least seen, if not already obtained– its called a passport. Foreign nationals (who’ve arrived legally) already have passports from their own country.

      • bobschacht says:

        For example, who knows what a “public option” or an “insurance exchange” is? On the other hand, Medicare is a known commodity that everyone is familiar with and most people have firsthand knowledge of friends or family members who are happy with its coverage.

        Keith Olbermann actually suggested “medicare for everyone” several months ago. I thought it was a good idea for exactly the reasons you mention, and so did Olbermann. But it caused a few critical persons (who?) to have a conniption, so that labeling was abandoned. I think that was a mistake.

        Bob in AZ

  7. Leen says:

    The Plum LineGreg Sargent’s blog
    Schumer Takes Credit For Getting Chas Freeman Ousted

    Chuck Schumer’s office sends over a statement from the Senator himself, saying he’s the one who got Chas Freeman dumped from the post of National Intelligence Council chief:

    “Charles Freeman was the wrong guy for this position. His statements against Israel were way over the top and severely out of step with the administration. I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing.”

    As I reported the other day, Schumer had privately communicated his doubts to White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Looks like those conversations had their desired effect: Schumer’s statement says straight out that that the White House engineered Freeman’s ouster.

    Allegedly Rahm did his part to out Charles Freeman too

  8. bobschacht says:

    EW, you’re right on the money, as usual.
    Schumer craves one thing: power. Progressive policies, and personal principles, are secondary.

    Bob in AZ

  9. klynn says:


    Did you see Katie C’s interview with Rahm on 60 Min Sunday?

    He made an interesting comment about COS’s.

    He noted that they rarely last an entire Presidency. He was also advised by past COS’s to, “Pick your successor.”

    Have you thought perhaps Chuck is auditioning for the part?

    He also mentioned that it stinks that he only sees his kids a few mornings a week. The kids go swimming at 5:30 AM with him. So, he set up the departure excuse in this interview.

    • emptywheel says:

      No, not at all.

      Chuck is auditioning to be the second coming of LBJ. And to be frank, his tools are the most similar we’ve seen to LBJ’s since then, probably. So there is reason to believe he’d be an effective Majority Leader. But increasingly little reason to believe it’d serve progressive principles.

    • Leen says:

      “Have you thought perhaps Chuck is auditioning for the part?” Aye yi yi
      ” After complaints from some pro-Israel groups during his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama distanced himself from Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser under President Jimmy Carter, who has sometimes been critical of Israel.

      Five days after Mr. Rosen’s blog item appeared, Senator Schumer telephoned Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, to ensure that the White House was aware of Mr. Freeman’s past comments about Israel. According to Senator Schumer, his staff then sent the White House copies of the statements.

      Mr. Schumer said that Mr. Freeman showed an “irrational hatred of Israel” and that his statements were “over the top.”

      • bobschacht says:

        Mr. Schumer said that Mr. Freeman showed an “irrational hatred of Israel” and that his statements were “over the top.”

        IIRC about the details of this, “Irrational hatred” = independent assessment, i.e., lacking a fawning commitment to, Israel.

        I hope that as Obama’s presidency evolves, he will feel freer to choose the best advisors, not just the safest ones.

        Bob in AZ

        • Leen says:

          If you focus on facts that is defined as “irrational hatred of Israel”
          The I lobby did not want Charles Freeman putting out the facts on Iran in a National Intelligence Estimate. They need to be able to keep spinning unsubstantiated claims about Iran to keep the anger building and setting the stage for the bunker busters

  10. Leen says:

    Chuck and Wall Street
    WASHINGTON — As the financial crisis jolted the nation in September, Senator Charles E. Schumer was consumed. He traded telephone calls with bankers, then became one of the first officials to promote a Wall Street bailout. He spent hours in closed-door briefings and a weekend helping Congressional leaders nail down details of the $700 billion rescue package.

  11. fatster says:

    O/T. Fitzgerald is back in the news.

    ACLU Denies Lawbreaking In Case Of Photographed CIA Officers
    “In a case that has all the ingredients to explode into a national controversy, Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed star prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate whether laws were broken after “paparazzi style” photographs of CIA officers were found in the cell of a Guantanamo inmate accused of financing the 9/11 attacks, Newsweek is reporting.”


    • EternalVigilance says:

      Great, let Karl walk but convict the ACLU.

      As well as the logical inconsistency that the ACLU found these supposed agents by simply hiring a private investigator, but the criminal mastermind al-kaydee types who supposedly outsmarted the entire US military establishment on 9/11 – “these guys are killers” – are all too stupid to ever have thought of doing that too.

      System’s dead. Time to move on.

  12. Leen says:

    EW here is one that fits right in with your Huck and Chuck piece. For Chuck and Huck “Target Iran”. Not enough dead, injured and displaced in Iraq for these warmongers

    Senators pressure Obama on Iran sanctions

    There was some strong pushback at Monday night’s AIPAC gala against the Obama administration’s call for further patience in waiting for the U.N. Security Council to enact a fourth round of sanctions on Iran. But it didn’t come from the Israeli side or the lobbying group itself: it came from two senior U.S. senators.

    Senate leadership member Charles Schumer, D-NY, and moderate Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, both passionately pledged to push this week for action on the Iran sanctions legislation currently awaiting a House-Senate conference. They directly contradicted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call for more time to allow the U.N. process to play out, a plea she made in remarks to the same group earlier in the day.

  13. Leen says:

    Schumer looking for a war with Iran based on unsubstantiated claims. Why do progressive support Schumer. He is clearly a warmonger.

    Schumer “Comparing a delay in confronting Iran’s nuclear program with the WWII-era appeasement of Adolf Hitler, Schumer said there was no choice but to move forward with new Iran sanctions now.

    “Diplomatic efforts have failed. We are too close (to a nuclear Iran) to simply continue those efforts,” said Schumer. “The U.S. must hit Iran first, on our own, with unilateral sanctions, no matter what the other nations of the world do. And we cannot wait, we must push those sanctions now … we cannot afford to wait for Russia or China.”

    Schumer’s comments showed some daylight between the New York senator and the administration on the issue of banning the export of petroleum products to Iran. Schumer is for it, but administration officials say they want to focus on sanctions that target the regime, not the population.”

  14. Leen says:

    Huck at Aipac conference directly contradicts Clinton “”Jerusalem is not a settlement. No government in Israel will ever look at Jerusalem as a settlement. And no government of the United States should ever look at Jerusalem as a settlement,” Graham said to raucous applause. “It’s the undivided capital of the state of Israel.”

    Professor Juan Cole and the International Court of Justice etc would strongly disagree with Huck Grahams claims. “East Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory”

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010
    Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem does not belong to Jewish-Israelis

    Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the American Israel Public Affairs Council on Monday that “Jerusalem is not a settlement.” He continued that the historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel cannot be denied. He added that neither could the historical connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. He insisted, “The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today.” He said, “Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.” He told his applauding audience of 7500 that he was simply following the policies of all Israeli governments since the 1967 conquest of Jerusalem in the Six Day War.

    Netanyahu mixed together Romantic-nationalist cliches with a series of historically false assertions. But even more important was everything he left out of the history, and his citation of his warped and inaccurate history instead of considering laws, rights or common human decency toward others not of his ethnic group.

    So here are the reasons that Netanyahu is profoundly wrong, and East Jerusalem does not belong to him.


    Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law; it is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated, and to repeal or render ineffective forthwith all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto, in accordance with paragraph 151 of this Opinion”;
    Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

  15. JohnLopresti says:

    Well, the Chuck part of the animated duo known as Chuck n Huck, is better than either expostulator of the Ev n Charlie show (Dirksen-Halleck). I think Chuck has an approach to compromise similar to MI*s own Carl Levin, as in Carl n Huck of DTA amendment repute. My impression was Chuck had a chit to repay judge Mukasey, theorizing the brevity of the remaining term after Gonzales would afford little opportunity for much more than preserving Bushco*s infamous stonewall. I am not sure Mukasey liked the work he did at DoJ, however. There seems to be a palpable difference in problem resolution in the middle east recently, even though the same old conservative BNetanyahu has returned to lead the country which was founded in 1948. My sense is the shift is the new course of US diplomacy and presidential leadership in the US. I spent a long time working in archeology studies in the region, and developed an appreciation much farther rooted in history than modern war and laws of war. So I support both sides, as in both sides of the ten sided contentious problems there. Going way off the ethnic scale of being on topic here, I read a biographical essay about the world*s recently announced richest individual, the Mexican Carlos Slim; turns out CSlim Helú was part of a Lebanese family which emigrated to Mexico when he was a tot. A rejuvenated and strong Lebanon would improve the balance of powers in the Levant.

    • bobschacht says:

      I spent a long time working in archeology studies in the region, and developed an appreciation much farther rooted in history than modern war and laws of war. So I support both sides, as in both sides of the ten sided contentious problems there.

      You and me both. I was in Occupied Jordan in 1967, a year after the “Six Day War”. I came away thinking that every square inch of land in that part of the Middle East had at least two very different owners with legitimate claims. My dig was near the proverbial Armageddon (i.e., Megiddo).

      Bob in AZ

  16. Bluetoe2 says:

    The thought of Schumer as Majority Leader of the Senate is as repulsive as Harry Reid as Majority Leader.

  17. curioussteve says:

    sending more real progressives to DC to die?

    starve the beast, while nurturing the alternative.

    throwing young alternatives to the beast won’t achieve anything.

    stop buying corporate products of all kinds.

    start building alternative economies at local levels.

  18. mook says:

    Chuck’s wife, Iris Weinshall, a CUNY administrator, is about to move the CUNY Law School into a building owned by Citibank and pay them well above market rate to rent the space.

  19. Mauimom says:

    it won’t really do squat for jobs because it is far too small, and it may well endanger social security in the long run.

    Marcy, I have not previously seen this about social security. From whence does it come?

    [I mean, we know the knives are out for SS, but how is this tied to the pitiful “jobs” bill?]

  20. jaango says:

    Of late, I have been writing about the “Three Clowns About Town” and which consists of McCain, Graham, and Lieberman. Perhaps, I should change my approach and add Schumer as the Fourth Clown.



    • temptingfate says:

      Given the subtle differences between the Ds and the Rs of late it would only be reasonable to add Chuck to the mix. With Lieberman, the ex-D, you have a more balanced partisan troop. Probably going to need a bigger clown car though.

  21. EternalVigilance says:

    If Politico transcribed her remark correctly, Claire McCaskill made a Freudian slip earlier in the month that revealed the D’s don’t believe Harry Reid’s going to be reelected:

    Pointing to the Senate’s ornate Mansfield Room, where Democrats were finishing lunch Thursday, she said: “There’s no one in that room that doesn’t believe Harry Reid isn’t going to get reelected.”

    In other words, there’s no one in that room that does believe Harry Reid is going to get reelected.

    Haven’t seen anyone else pick up on it so far.

    Politico story is here: Durbin’s hardball game

  22. Teddy Partridge says:

    There would have been no Attorney General Michael Mukasey without Chuck… and Dianne. Let us never forget.

    • EternalVigilance says:

      and Dianne. Let us never forget.

      Could you please not bring her up while I’m eating?

    • Mary says:

      And DiFi and Rockefeller insisted on Bush’s Libyan go-to, Kappes, at CIA as No 2 in order to support Panetta.

      It’s like DiFi and Jello Jay couldn’t wait to have the al-libi story brought to an end.

    • temptingfate says:

      Which reminds me of some Englishmen drinking in the pub in a bye gone era referring of course to a different two people, with the same names, with the toast: Up Chuck and Di!

  23. jaango says:

    In response to temptingfate at 35.

    I have been writing about our foreign policy with regard to Israel, and as such, have hectored the “clowns” unmercifully.

    And my last missive was all about the “School of Great Sex” in which the mixed marriage between a Jew and a Palestinian, would merit our largesse. Take, for example, our foreign aid and assorted monies would be made available to the children of these mixed marriages, from free meals in schools where both the Israeli and Palestinian kids congregate, and to scholarships for these kids when they gain college-age, and to the extent that these students could matriculate into America’s colleges and universities. Consequently, the current adult populations have screwed up Israel to the nth degree, and this new generation, would lead to the restabilization of an Israel as a nation-state. Otherwise Israel will cease to exist as a Democracy since both sides to this Conflict, justify their respective behaviors on bigotry and racism.

    As a Native American/Chicano/Military Veteran, I have been excoriated for having expressed myself, but it’s all been to my good benefit. Thus, when I mentioned that no Native American or Chicano would die in Israel for Israel, I set off a tempest among the many Jews who are determined to keep this “good news” away from the Jewish community. And when I was informed that I was incorrect, it was also a Jew who proved me correct by providing the actual documents saying otherwise.

    So, here in the Sonoran Desert, our “reach out” to the American Jew will continue unabated, but the AIPAC seems to think otherwise.


  24. AlexS says:

    Chuck Schumer (D – Wall Street/Tel Aviv) and Lindsay Graham (R – Langley/Under John McCain’s Desk) teaming up to further enhance the police state after successfully working together to insure that “mastermind” KSM never gets to air his relations to the ISI and CIA (and perhaps their 9/11 co-conspirators of Mossad and Saudi intelligence) in a public courtroom?!?! Color me astonished!

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