A Study in Unflattering Contrasts

There is something almost breathtaking about the way Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) seizes every opportunity to push through the Senate bills that would leave his party in a position of total dominance while hollowing out what remains of our constitutional republic. 

Schumer has gone from commemorating the hyped-up “insurrection” on January 6, 2021, to demanding that the Senate abolish the filibuster to give us a “more perfect democracy.” Then, in a letter to his party, he insisted that they finish their work on the filibuster by Martin Luther King Day. This would be a preliminary step to passing H.R. 1 with the assistance of Vice President Kamala Harris. Once that is done, Democrats won’t have to worry anymore about illegally harvested ballots or ineligible voters who can’t prove their identity. Passing HR1 will allow, or so we are told, hitherto suppressed minority voters to have their votes counted for the first time.

It makes no difference whether these appeals to minority resentment and these efforts at carrying out a real coup d’état are based on hard evidence. This rabble-rousing may work in a year when Schumer’s party is playing with a weak hand. Even if the Senate majority leader doesn’t manage to subvert our constitutional system, he has constructed electorally usable issues. The Republicans and a few uncooperative Democrats, he alleges, are engaging in racist tactics to keep poor blacks from voting; and impeding democratic control of  Senate by holding on to obstructionist tools once employed by Southern segregationists. Yes, I know this is utter nonsense, that Schumer and other Senate Democrats defended the filibuster when they were in the minority, and that there is absolutely no evidence of voter suppression in any state.

But then we are not speaking about accusations that can be empirically sustained. We are talking about the political strategy of which a thoroughly unscrupulous Senate leader might avail himself when his party has no positive accomplishments of which they can boast. For want of better talking points, Schumer can stir up racial animosities and get lots of radicalized college kids angry enough to vote for the Democrats.

Please note that I am not giving his behavior a stamp of moral approval. But I am applauding Schumer’s chutzpah in doing whatever it takes to maintain and expand the power of his party. This stands in depressing contrast to the go-along attitude shown by the invertebrate Republican congressional leaders. One wonders whether their refusal to act decisively in certain situations indicates how insignificant a Republican victory in November may turn out to be. U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was stripped of her committee assignment in February after assaulting the honesty of the presidential election. Eleven Republicans voted with the Democrats to complete this humiliation of an outspoken populist conservative. Then, just after the first of the year, the high-tech giants banned Greene from Twitter for stating the COVID vaccine has had deleterious consequences. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) did next to nothing to oppose these moves, except to endorse “diversity of opinion.”

Can one imagine what the Democrats would have done if a Republican majority threw the race-hustling Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) off the finance committee after she incited mobs against Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers two years ago? Waters’ party would have played the race card ad nauseam and even affirmed the necessity of keeping the financially corrupt Waters on the Financial Service Committee. Republicans in Congress should have gone ballistic when Greene was stripped of her committee membership, and they should have threatened the Democrats to do the same to their congressmen as soon as they take back the House. Republicans who went after Greene should have been subject to the same discipline that the Democrats would have meted out to such turncoats.

There was also no reason except for pusillanimity that prevented “Marshmallow McCarthy” from going after the high-tech barons when Greene was thrown off Twitter, after the same insolent act was committed against a sitting Republican president. Tucker Carlson insisted that McCarthy should have phoned Dorsey and Zuckerberg and told them that harsh measures would be taken against them when the Republicans take back Congress, unless they reconsidered their mischief. Even more would have been appropriate in this case, e.g., telling the high-handed tech magnates that the Republicans would make their lives unbearable unless they restored the canceled accounts immediately and issued an apology to Greene and Trump.

I am also dismayed by how Republicans in Congress have begun to imitate Democrats by exaggerating what happened on January 6, 2021. Not only have NeverTrump zealots such as Representatives Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) joined anti-Trump Democrats in condemning the “insurrection,” last week Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) went into a tizzy (again) about the “violent terrorist attack” on the Capitol building. Would this much-touted conservative care to identify the “terrorists” he had in mind? I’m still waiting for Democrats to condemn the arsonists and murderers they unleashed during the “Summer of Love” in equally harsh language.


About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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