Thursday was a very strange night in Iran deal news. Just before the first of two Fox debates, NY's Junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced she was supporting the President's Iran deal, and during the second debate NY's Senior Senator Chuck Schumer said he was going to vote against the deal. A few moments after Schumer's announcement it all began to seem contrived, or as we say in New York, to paraphrase Shakespeare the "boid of Avon, Something's rotten in the State of New York."
Both senators committing the same day, and timed during the big debate night it all seems very convenient, perhaps designed to hurt the Obama deal the least, especially when one considers the answer I received from the Schumer camp indicating he was not going to whip up no votes from his Democratic colleagues.
NY has the largest Jewish population of any state in the U.S.-- a Schumer's no vote announcement will turn out be very popular with his constituents, but it's a scam.
To give some context to those readers who live outside the empire state; Chuck Schumer holds major press conference to announce every minor thing he does. It would not be a surprise to New Yorkers if one day the senator holds a presser to announce a bowel moment (perhaps an exaggeration but not by much).
By his own words Schumer's announcement rejecting the Iran agreement was a big deal. His announcement press release began with a dramatic, "Every several years or so a legislator is called upon to cast a momentous vote in which the stakes are high and both sides of the issue are vociferous in their views."
It is often said that the most dangerous place in New York was in-between Chuck Schumer and a news camera. Yet he didn't announce his no vote with a big press conference in front of dozens of cameras and reports, he announced it with a whimper---a press release sent out at 10:45 pm, 15 minutes before the end of the first GOP primary debate that was predicted to be a huge ratings winner. Sure it was covered by the news media, but almost as an afterthought in-between all of the debate commentary and spin.
Soon after receiving Schumer's release, I contacted his press contact and asked three questions
Will the senator try to whip up votes against the deal? Will Senator Schumer maintain his opposition if there is a vote to override a presidential veto? Was there any connection between his announcement and fact that Sen. Gillibrand announced her support of the deal just a few hours ago?Only the first question revived a response:
Here's a statement from the Senator:He can't force colleagues to vote his way? Horse poop, he is going to be the next leader of the Democratic caucus because he is great at whipping up votes. And when it comes to Jewish/Israel issues; remember that Chuck Hagel's nomination for defense secretary was wobbly until Schumer said he was Kosher. Schumer's answer was an indication he had no intention of whipping up no votes.
"There are some who believe that I can force my colleagues to vote my way. While I will certainly share my view and try to persuade them that the vote to disapprove is the right one, in my experience with matters of conscience and great consequence like this, each member ultimately comes to their own conclusion."-U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer
Sadly it seems as if New York's senior senator took the coward's way out. He gets to tell NY voters that he was against the deal, but he did it in a way to protect the agreement by announcing it almost silently and promising he would sit on his hands and not fight against the agreement.