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A closer look at two top Democrats
February 4, 2009 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Chuck Schumer. Barney Frank. A closer look at two of Washington's most powerful men.
posted by SeizeTheDay (21 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
See also the recent New Yorker profile: Barney’s Great Adventure.
posted by ericb at 12:04 PM on February 4, 2009


" It seems to me that politicians ought to use the same words as other people."

-Barney Frank
posted by clavdivs at 12:04 PM on February 4, 2009


How close do you want to get to Barney Frank? I had a brief interview with him about the Federal Reserve.
posted by shii at 12:06 PM on February 4, 2009


The New Yorker: Barney Frank

Not long ago, Paul Begala, the political strategist, was speaking at a fund-raiser for a gay-rights group and said, “When I told my father, back in Texas, that I was speaking to an L.G.B.T. group, he said that sounded like a sandwich.” From the audience, Frank called out, “Sometimes it is!”
posted by jckll at 12:18 PM on February 4, 2009 [16 favorites]


I love that tubby, lisping, argumentative man.
posted by The Whelk at 12:31 PM on February 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Was anyone else hoping that the links would take one to a series of photos of Schumer and Frank in various Beltway hotels, with a range of states of boredom and undress, perhaps with thick printouts of assorted bills scattered over the minibar? No? Just me?
posted by adipocere at 1:28 PM on February 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


"More than any other Democrat in Congress, Schumer is responsible for his party’s gains over the past four years."

Chuck Schumer the smirking asshole! All he does is bluster. He is a complete party loyalist. Us versus Them. No interest in public service, he plays politics thinking he is scoring points through one-upsmanship ... god he is just such a fucking tool.

Barney Frank blusters too, as he is ... easily excitable, but with a good heart.

Slightly off topic but interesting point from the article;
"Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law School professor whose studies of the middle class have strongly influenced Schumer,"

Elizabeth Warren testifies before Congress frequently, she is amazing (competent, intelligent,well spoken ... ) and probably influenced many more than dingbat Schumer. The Senate recently, and rightly, made her responsible for the oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) through a newly created Congressional Oversight Pannel (COP).
posted by phoque at 1:29 PM on February 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have to admit, I love having Frank frequently in the spotlight as a kind of alternative role model for gay dudes. One day, you can grow up to be Oscar Wilde of financial oversight!

(also, in response to adipocere: YES.)
posted by LMGM at 1:49 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Chuck Schumer the smirking asshole! All he does is bluster. He is a complete party loyalist. Us versus Them. No interest in public service, he plays politics thinking he is scoring points through one-upsmanship ... god he is just such a fucking tool.

A-yup. After watching 'Waco: The Rules of Engagement', I can't look at Schumer without my stomach turning.
posted by BigSky at 1:51 PM on February 4, 2009


I'll admit to not having heard of Schumer, but after reading that article, I'm impressed.

What will happen if we do it right,” he said, “is that there’ll be an alliance between the middle class and the poor, as opposed to the alliance between the middle class and the rich [..."]
Which is the real core of it.

phoque Chuck Schumer the smirking asshole! All he does is bluster.
Read the article again. Lots of people, maybe even most middle-class people, eat cereal every day. Being associated with a drop in the price of that is a damn good thing for a politician to be.

He is a complete party loyalist. Us versus Them.
And that's fine. You wouldn't criticize, say, a football player for being a complete team loyalist, all "us vs them" about the game. Politics in the USA has always been a whole lot more vicious and dirtier than football, and lately has gotten to the point where it's almost as dirty as it was pre-WWI. "Us vs Them" is a good ideological viewpoint to have, so long as Republicans and warmongers and the enemies of consumer and environmental protection and suchlike are defined as "Them", and decent human beings have a place among "Us".

To put it another way, the only thing not being all "us vs them" has achieved, is that it lets the Republicans systematically fuck your country (and whatever else of the world they can reach, which is a lot) right up. The Republicans have proven themselves entirely willing to lay a thick layer of lipservice to bipartisanship, while maintaining an attitude relentlessly and uncompromisingly "us vs them", where "us" is defined as "people currently extremely wealthy", and "them" is defined to include, well, everyone.

No interest in public service,
Read the article again. He is interested in achieving things that are a service to the "public": the middle class, who--unlike the lower class--have actual political power. It is Schumer's expressed intention, and I for one believe him, to weld the interests of the middle and lower classes together (which tends to happen by default, when program eligibility is defined by a maximum income threshold), and if need be, set both against the interests of the upper class. Which is fine. Weep no tears for the upper class. They have money and power to console them. That the Republicans spend so much time and effort and money protecting the interests of those who by definition are better off than everyone else, is one of the most obnoxious things about them. Even feudalism didn't have such an emphasis on "the weak must protect the strong". Republicanism amounts to feudalism minus noblesse oblige.

he plays politics thinking he is scoring points through one-upsmanship ...
When the game is assessed on points, scoring points is the whole idea. One-upsmanship, as I understand it in game terms, is "scoring points in a manner that simultaneously prevents your opponent from scoring". It's +1 to me, -1 to you. Absent a silly sense of "bipartisanship" (and I think we all know what that does, I need not belabor the point), I don't see the objection.

god he is just such a fucking tool.
What's a tool for, if not a job?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:59 PM on February 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


To clarify.
I watch inordinate amounts of CSPAN, I am very familiar with camera whore Schumer.
Schumer is petty.
The article is a limited view ... breakfast cereal in 1998 or some such. !0 years later ... Bush talked about his rug a lot.
He would make a fine Republican.
He is wishy washy and feels out politically popular positions.
Schumer likes to fight over he said she said nonsense. Constantly. It isn't about better policy it is about embarassing.
He is a Democratic version of Darrell Issa.
Schumer believed having Bush as President was good because he was bad for Republicans which says much about devotion to serving the public.
Us vs Them is not a humane mindset.
posted by phoque at 2:19 PM on February 4, 2009


Speaking as another CSPAN junkie, and someone who watched the entire hearings on the Waco incident over a decade ago, I totally agree with phoque and BigSky that Schumer is a petty a-hole. He is a political animal is the worst sense of the word.
posted by iconjack at 2:54 PM on February 4, 2009


Okay, I re-read the article ... if Schumer was coaching a football team and the entire other team was injured, except one guy, Schumer would order his team to de-pants the remaining defender.
posted by phoque at 2:57 PM on February 4, 2009


While Congress is in session, Schumer lives in a rented house with fellow Democratic politicians George Miller, Dick Durbin, and Bill Delahunt. - Wikipedia

Sitcom?
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:57 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Schumer apparently won some fans when he was commencement speaker at my college a few years back. One of those infamous western NY deluges hit during the ceremony, and when it was Schumer's turn to speak, he held up the text of his speech for everyone to see...before tearing the paper to shreds and stepping off the podium. I'm told the crowd went wild.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:00 PM on February 4, 2009


Clearly Schumer offends your sense of fair play, phoque, and that speaks well of you as a human being. But politicians as asshole political animals are what democracy has iterated into. Almost all of them are like that. No decent person would want to be one, and it's offensive that they even exist; but if we have to have them, and it seems that we do in fact have to have them, then I for one want the asshole political animal to be in here pissing out, defending its territory by protecting me and mine, and biting those who deserve to be bit.

As to your example, the remaining defender does deserve to be depantsed, wedgied, and marched off in handcuffs. Republicanism has done more than enough damage and it's past time that it died off as a philosophy. If this involves making life very hard for Republicans, then I say go to it, Schumer, and more strength to your wedgie-ing arm.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:03 PM on February 4, 2009


Man, that Conde Nast article on Frank is a drive-by shooting. They seem to hate the man for being good at his job, smarter than them and not tucking in his shirt properly.
posted by QIbHom at 5:57 PM on February 4, 2009


While Congress is in session, Schumer lives in a rented house with fellow Democratic politicians George Miller, Dick Durbin, and Bill Delahunt.
''You wouldn't go there unless you wanted to feast on the Cheez Doodles in the couch.'' NYT article.
posted by Tufa at 6:51 PM on February 4, 2009


Lately Shumer has been saying we need $4T to save the banking industry (from his home state, of course). Frank is pretty entertaining. He was on that show with Stephenopolus some douche bag republican and the CEO of google and he pwnt 'em both.
posted by delmoi at 10:44 PM on February 4, 2009


aeschenkarnos:"Republicanism amounts to feudalism minus noblesse oblige."

It needed repeating. Problem is, too few people appreciate the meaning of the words used.
posted by Goofyy at 11:37 PM on February 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Mmm. I'm a Democrat, I live in New York, and I can't stand Schumer. Whoever called him out as an opportunist is exactly right. He's a clinical career politician in the most negative sense of the words. You know all the "I support the war in Iraq because it seems like the whole country does and I don't want to get tarred as a spineless Democrat, but wait, my party is opposed to the war, so suddenly I have a spine, and I'll pretend my lapse in ethics is the fault of this amazing con job from the administration" shrapnel hitting the Democrats over the last few years?

That's Schumer. Fuck him. Barney Frank? That guy, I like.
posted by Amanojaku at 9:19 AM on February 5, 2009


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