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Politico: Schumer "Schemes To Hit GOP On More Wedge Issues," Prioritizing "Election-Year Point Scoring" Over Jobs | Missouri Political News Service

Politico: Schumer “Schemes To Hit GOP On More Wedge Issues,” Prioritizing “Election-Year Point Scoring” Over Jobs

March 15th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a key member of majority Democrats’ leadership team and their messaging chief, told George Stephanopoulos, “Democrats are focused like a laser on jobs, the economy, and the middle class.”

But today, Politico  reports that Schumer has decided Senate Democrats will have an entirely different focus: “political weapon[s],” “fodder for a campaign ad,” and “campaign-style attacks.” Politico writes, “New York Sen. Chuck Schumer believes he has found a political weapon in the unlikeliest of places: the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans have several objections to the legislation, but instead of making changes, Schumer wants to fast track the bill to the floor, let the GOP block it, then allow Democrats to accuse Republicans of waging a ‘war against women.’

“It’s fodder for a campaign ad, and it’s not the only potential 30-second spot ready to spring from Senate leadership these days. From his perch as the Democrats’ chief policy and messaging guru, Schumer wants to raise taxes on people who earn more than $1 million, and many Democrats want to push the vote for April 15, a move designed to amp up the “income inequality” rhetoric just in time for Tax Day. Schumer has a plan for painting Republicans as anti-immigrant as well. He’s called the author of the Arizona immigration law to testify before his Judiciary subcommittee, bringing Capitol Hill attention to an issue that’s still front and center for Hispanic voters.

“None of these campaign-style attacks allow for the policy nuances or reasoning behind the GOP’s opposition, and some of the bills stand no chance of becoming law. But that’s not really the point. The real push behind this effort is to give Democrats reasons to portray Republicans as anti-women, anti-Latino and anti-middle class. In the aftermath of a fight over a payroll tax cut for American workers and an Obama contraception policy, Democrats are ready for this next set of wedge issues.”

Politico notes, “The move carries some risk. The economy is still struggling, with the jobless rate above 8 percent and millions seeking work. Gas prices are skyrocketing. And Schumer himself said last Sunday that Democrats would focus like a ‘laser’ on the economy, a comment Republicans giddily pointed out as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pushed for judicial confirmations this week. Schumer and Reid have also shown little interest in bringing forward a budget resolution this spring, saying that overall spending levels have already been agreed upon. That has opened them up to Republican charges they are steadfastly avoiding tough votes on the budget in favor of election-year point scoring. Republicans see the latest chatter in the Senate as a political ploy by Democratic leaders to steady the ship in the face of a shaky political landscape. ‘Sounds like all politics all the time,’ said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of his party’s leadership who also serves on the Judiciary Committee.


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