The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Chuck Schumer’s Bad Week, Part Five of Five


In the latest book from wise-cracking chef Anthony Bourdain, Medium Raw, he describes a doomed relationship:

She would be raging at the manager, accusing the busboy — or whoever was at hand — of stealing her cell phone. Fact was, she constantly misplaced her cell phone, her purse, anything of value she had. She’d get sloshed, forgetful, impulsively run off to dance, to search for coke, to say hello to an old friend — and she’d lose track of [stuff]. She would forget where she put things — if she’d ever had them in the first place.

I am not a fan of people who abuse service staff. In fact, I find it intolerable. It’s an unpardonable sin as far as I’m concerned, taking out personal business or some other kind of dissatisfaction on a waiter or busboy. From the first time I saw that, our relationship was essentially over. She accused me of ‘caring about waiters more than I cared about her,’ and she was right.

Most folks who have worked in the service industry — former waiters, busboys, store clerks, ice-cream scoopers, checkout clerks, etc. — remember the long hours and difficult customers, and try to show a little patience in those circumstances.

Chuck Schumer was a high-school valedictorian who went to Harvard, and from Harvard to Harvard Law School; the year he graduated from law school, he was elected to the New York State Assembly. Six years later, he was elected to the U.S. House. I am sure, if you asked Chuck Schumer, he would tell you he entered politics to serve the little people. But sometimes he forgets the little people.

Schumer embraces Hillary Clinton, with poor Sen. Barbara Mikulski squeezed between them.

Er, no, his embrace that smothered Sen. Barbara Mikulski isn’t what I meant. Some of his behavior suggests he can’t stand the little people.

According to a House Republican aide who happened to be seated nearby, the notoriously chatty New York Democrat referred to a flight attendant as a “bitch” after she ordered him to turn off his phone before takeoff.

Schumer and his seatmate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), were chatting on their phones before takeoff when an announcement indicated that it was time to turn off the phones.

Both senators kept talking.

According to the GOP aide, a flight attendant then approached Schumer and told him the entire plane was waiting on him to shut down his phone.

Schumer asked if he could finish his conversation. When the flight attendant said “no,” Schumer ended his call but continued to argue his case.

He said he was entitled to keep his phone on until the cabin door was closed. The flight attendant said he was obliged to turn it off whenever a flight attendant asked.

“He argued with her about the rule,” the source said. “She said she doesn’t make the rules, she just follows them.”

When the flight attendant walked away, the witness says Schumer turned to Gillibrand and uttered the B-word.

Of course, Chuck Schumer also asked that the US Airways shuttle leave early to help him keep his schedule, and the airline agreed.

He extends the same level of patience and understanding to poll workers:

A party insider told me Schumer showed up at his polling place, P.S. 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, at 5:55 a.m., and was ‘agitated and unhappy’ at how things went. They don’t open the polling place until 6:10 . . . They can’t figure out how to open the machine and he is, like, screaming at the staff that he wants to vote,’ the insider said.

It should also be no surprise that Chuck Schumer was the first major public official to use the term “tea-bagger,” a vulgar sexual euphemism favored by certain liberals to describe Tea Party activists. He used the term to describe Massachusetts Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown in a fundraising e-mail.

If you want to be rude to flight attendants and poll workers and use crude language, there’s no law against it. But it’s particularly ironic coming from Schumer, whose first Senate victory was driven in part by his success in turning incumbent Republican Alphonse D’Amato’s crack that Schumer was a “putzhead” into a major issue. He called it a “cheap slur” and insinuated that the use of the Yiddish term played on religious differences.

Tags: Chuck Schumer


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