The Corner

In Chuck We Trust?

I write on the homepage about Chuck Schumer’s under-publicized role as the ringleader of the “Gang of Eight” senators working toward a compromise on immigration reform. Republicans are naturally suspicious of any effort involving the New York Democrat, a career politician who will likely have to overcome his proclivity for ruthless partisanship in order forge an agreement.

A number of GOP aides cite Schumer’s involvement as a primary reason that they remain skeptical about the prospects for immigration reform. Some have expressed concern that Rubio, a rising star in the Republican party, walked into a trap the moment he agreed to join Schumer’s gang. Schumer may be less interested in compromise, they suggest, than in deliberately designing legislation that conservatives would be unable to support; this tactic would force Rubio to back out and thereby create a divisive campaign issue for Democrats to run on in 2014 and 2016. “He’ll do whatever he can to characterize us as extreme, or racist, the usual,” says a Republican Senate aide. “It’s just another thing they could use to beat our guys over the head with.”

A former chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), Schumer has assumed an increasingly prominent role since he took over the Senate Democrats’ political-messaging operation in 2011. He has been the driving force behind his party’s coordinated, poll-tested campaign to vilify Republicans over the past two years. Reporters once overheard the message maven instruct his Democratic colleagues on how to attack Republicans; moments before a scheduled conference call in March 2011, and apparently unaware that reporters were already listening, Schumer summarized his battle strategy. “I always use the word ‘extreme,’” he said. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.” That comment, a Republican aide remarks, “tells you all you need to know about Chuck Schumer.”

Read the whole thing here.

Andrew Stiles — Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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