Schumer’s Folly

The 51–49 Senate vote defeating the Women’s Health Protection Act is an argument looking for a conclusion.

There isn’t one.

Now one can say with confidence that more than one folly has come from New York State. Sen. Chuck Schumer has joined Robert Fulton as New York’s folly maker. Except Fulton’s advanced river transport. Schumer’s advances little transport if one considers that the Health Protection Act will energize “moderate” Republicans to vote independently.

Specifically, it was ‘moderate’ Republicans including its newest member, Democrat Senator Joe Manchin, who killed the bill.

That Schumer and company refuse to grasp this fact is the folly part. But there is more and this from the political theater notebook: Schumer knows he can’t move any Republican votes, but he thinks he can move Democrat votes, specifically women’s votes. Thinking so doesn’t make it so and pretending you can do the same thing and that ‘this time is different’ is one political stage curtsy short of delusion.

Historian and commentator Jill Lepore digs deeper into the motivations behind mouthing the obvious and taking credit for the votes you presume you have. One misses ‘clarity of consequence,’ as Lepore writes, that the people, not the politicians, bear the consequence:

“Politicians hoping to raise money off this latest battle are keen to depict it as a contest between the two parties, even though the people who have suffered most during this long war are poor women, poor families, and poor children. Structurally, the contest isn’t between Democrats and Republicans but between the people and the Constitution. Women have been trying to gain equal rights since the founding of this country, including by constitutional amendment. The last meaningful amendment to the Constitution — lowering the voting age to eighteen — was ratified in July 1971. That December, the Court heard arguments in Roe. In March 1972, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment and sent it to the states, where it was expected to be quickly ratified. That May, John George Schmitz, a Republican congressman representing California, introduced on the floor another proposal, the first right-to-life amendment, which would bar the states from depriving any individual of life “from the moment that he is conceived.” In the fifty years since, versions of this amendment have been introduced in Congress more than six hundred times.”

About your defense on scheduling a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, Sen. Schumer, ‘So now we can know.’

No, Sen. Schumer, ‘we’ knew.

So why now pose this ‘answer,’ except to provide political cover for refusing to act decisively and with conviction on legislative agendas?

Except when it comes to loosening the people’s coffers for Ukraine?

America sees that we can turn social program legislation into sausage links but when it comes to providing lend-lease programs of military aid to Ukraine, it’s steak tartare on a silver platter. We can stiff the next generation by defunding education, delay pandemic relief, and ignore marginalized communities but we can’t neglect beefing up spending on spanking-new ground to air missiles. By this one doesn’t mean ignore Ukraine; simply speaking, one means, acknowledge the internally displaced refugees in our country as well as those in Ukraine.

Like American women seeking health care.

Sen. Schumer, your folly is not political discourse, it’s made-for-prime-time political calculation. Elections don’t have consequences if elections are a coverup.

But you saw this coming, didn’t you Senator Schumer, so you took the pursed lips route and let America deal with the ballot box. When you can’t defend or defer defending your legislative record, you turn to your voters for cover.

So now ‘we’ know?

No, Sen. Schumer, ‘we’ knew.

By the way, Sen. Schumer, the tomato red frame glasses don’t work. Too much ‘gravitas meets Georgetown brunch crowd.’

Looks ‘folly-ish.’

May 17

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