This is a lose-lose for Schumer. Either he’s the man who paved the way for the most anti-Israel defense secretary in history or he’s the guy humiliated when the Hagel nomination fails. Either way the White House has done him no favors.
Then Schumer becomes Mr. Bipartisan. He works with Republicans (something he hates) and comes out with a reasoned immigration reform plan that is far to the right of what Hispanic groups want and far too generous toward new workers for Big Labor’s taste. Next along comes the president. He goes left, making an issue of gay partners, clamming up on guest workers and leaving out a border security trigger. Once again Schumer is hung out to dry. (Well, thanks very much, Mr. President. Make me look like the right-winger. And you get the victory lap at MALDEF?)
Schumer’s travails are hardly over. Soon Republicans will be going populist, going after the big banks (some of his favorite donors) and decrying all those retirement benefits for rich people (“Hey, they’re my rich people!” Schumer would say.). By the end of this he’ll look like a phony Zionist, a faux immigration reformer and a pal of the rich and powerful.
Sure, Schumer is an infamous demagogue. There is no senator more partisan. And yes, the most dangerous place in D.C. is still between Schumer and a microphone. But have some heart, Republicans. The guy has a “kick me” sign on his back and the White House is kicking away.