Hate him or love him, one must hand it to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) — the guy knows what he’s doing. Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon, Schumer continued to lay the groundwork for a government shutdown, accusing the Tea Party of being of being a “negative force” in budget talks, while insisting the two sides are “close to overcoming this force” and that negotiations are in the “home stretch.” Republicans strongly refute such claims.
Schumer seems to have a firm grasp of what many prominent conservative voices have been saying (here, here, here, and here) about the ongoing spending debate. He’s trying to appropriate their arguments to his advantage, at one point quoting Bill Kristol on the need to get past the current CR negotiations. “Time is short,” he said. “We need to move on to the pressing matter of the 2012 budget…This is simply a prelude over large discussions ahead.”
This was all against the backdrop of a Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill, where conservative House members like Reps. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.), Steve King (R., Iowa) and Mike Pence (R., Ind.) urged their Republican colleagues to “pick a fight” — at one point inspiring a chant of “cut it or shut it!”
“Speaker Boehner needs to resist Tea Party rallies today, and the ones to follow, and accept the offer on the table,” Schumer said. “We should all agree that first and foremost, a government shutdown should be avoided.”
If that’s how he really feels about a government shutdown, perhaps he should stop — in the words of Dr. Krauthammer — “lusting after” one.