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Monday, February 18, 2013

Shame on Schumer

Chuck Schumer sees himself as a guardian of Jewish interests in the Senate, but the New York Sun is castigating him for his lack of leadership on the Hagel nomination.
Crumpling is a pattern with Mr. Schumer. We remember watching him in the mid-1990s, when he was in the House and the issue of Jerusalem came to a head. There came a moment when the Congress was going to mark the point by insisting that the American embassy in Israel, situated at Tel Aviv, be moved to Israel’s capital city. It was a favorite issue of Senator Moynihan, who once visited the offices of the Jewish Forward newspaper voicing indignation over a State Department telephone directory that had a listing for Jerusalem as not being in Israel.
The Democrats were being put on the spot by the Republicans, who had swept to power in both houses of Congress and were, at the prodding of Senator Dole, agitating to make an issue of Jerusalem. Mr. Schumer was among those boasting that the Democrats and the Clinton administration were finally going to fix the situation. At the 11th hour, however, the Democrats watered down the Jerusalem Embassy Act, proposing an escape hatch in the form of a waiver by which the president could evade the requirement to move the embassy.
It was, as we recall it, Dianne Feinstein who first advanced this dodge, which was promptly used by President Clinton. Senator Schumer stood silent. It wasn’t a party problem. President George W. Bush and President Obama also used the waiver, and Mr. Schumer stood silent then, too. The result is that although the act of 1995 set a goal of moving the embassy by 1999, we are coming up on a generation since the law was passed and the embassy hasn’t been moved. What reason is there to think that Mr. Schumer might have gone to the mat this time?
Mr. Schumer started cheering on the Republican opposition when Mr. Hagel was first advanced as a potential defense nominee. The minute we heard of Mr. Schumer’s bravado, we made a bet that he would reverse himself. It’s not a bet on which we got rich, and we’d have rather lost it. The fact, in any event, is that Mr. Schumer has been put to shame on his own boast by such stronger senators as Lindsey Graham and James Inhofe. New York’s senior senator could regain his reputation in a fell swoop were he to stand up on what he knows in his heart to be a tragic error by Mr. Obama. It’s unlikely, though we’d be happy to be proven wrong.
Indeed. I have more hope that New York's Junior Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, will try to distinguish herself on an issue her voters care about by standing up to President Obama, than I have that Schumer might do the same.  Keep that in mind, New Yorkers, when you go to the polls in 2016.

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