Video: Your civics lesson from Chuck Schumer

posted at 12:15 pm on January 31, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

A couple of weeks ago, we noted that public officials did more poorly on a civics survey than the general population, with only 49% of elected officials surveyed able to correctly identify the three branches of government — from a multiple-choice list.  Add Chuck Schumer to that list.  Not only does he incorrectly declare that the three branches of government include the two chambers of Congress and the President, he also completely mischaracterizes the debate on which he blows his civics lesson (via Greg Hengler):

So I would urge my Republican colleagues, no matter how strong they feel — you know, we have three branches of government: we have a House, the Senate, we have a President, and all three of us are going to have to come together and give some. But it is playing with fire to risk the shutting down of the government, just as it is playing with fire to risk not paying the debt ceiling.

For those who went to the same schools as Schumer, the three branches of government are the executive (run by the President), the legislature (which includes both the House and the Senate), and the judiciary.  One might have assumed that an attorney like Schumer would know that the judiciary is the third branch of government.  Imagine if Sarah Palin had said this; it would be on continuous rotation at MSNBC.

But even apart from that, Schumer still doesn’t have a point.  No one is saying that we shouldn’t pay the debt ceiling.  There isn’t anyone rooting for default in either party.  The question before Congress is whether we will raise the debt ceiling in order to allow the government to borrow even more money.  If Congress doesn’t raise it, the US won’t be able to sell more debt, which means that it will have to stop paying on its obligations, although those decisions can be prioritized to put off defaulting on existing bonds, at least for a short period of time.

Perhaps Schumer should familiarize himself with the actual issue at hand, but first, can we get a remedial Civics 101 course for members of Congress?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I thought Beck was actively calling for not raising the debt ceiling, and risking default. Am I wrong?

classicaliberal on January 31, 2011 at 12:18 PM

But, Chuckie’s not only a liberal. He’s a liberal who got 1600 on his SATs (as Schumer himself will tell you if you have any professional-looking video camera on your presence). That entitles him to a lifetime of get-out-of-moronic-statement cards in the eyes of the big media.

jon1979 on January 31, 2011 at 12:19 PM

The sad fact, how many millions did not know chuck had not clue what he was saying and thought he was right?
L

letget on January 31, 2011 at 12:20 PM

I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry…..

Yakko77 on January 31, 2011 at 12:21 PM

you know, we have three branches of government: we have a House, the Senate, we have a President, and all three of us are going to have to come together and give some.

That video would make great election year material for the GOP.

a capella on January 31, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Are libs teaching this in all 57 states?

50sGuy on January 31, 2011 at 12:24 PM

He’s a liberal who got 1600 on his SATs (as Schumer himself will tell you if you

jon1979 on January 31, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Haven’t you heard? There’s nothing (nothing!) on earth smarter than a liberal. Don’t believe me? Just ask Chuck Shumer.

abobo on January 31, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Imagine if Sarah Palin had said this; it would be on continuous rotation at MSNBC.

You mean like when she correctly identified the Vice President as having a role described in Article I of the Constitution (and Biden misstated it):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_etUpqndn0

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/03/biden-gaffe-vp-is-always-president-of-the-senate/

Abby Adams on January 31, 2011 at 12:25 PM

We are SOOOO doomed!

cirrus on January 31, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Perhaps Schumer should familiarize himself with the actual issue at hand, but first, can we get a remedial Civics 101 course for members of Congress?

you’re fired, Chuck. For gross incompetence.

ted c on January 31, 2011 at 12:28 PM

lIbRaLz R sMaRtz.

portlandon on January 31, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Looks like the talent pool at the top of the Dem dung heap is awfully shallow.

Wear it Chuckie, you earned it.

ted c on January 31, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Yes, we’re “playing with fire”. Our fiscal house is burning down. We don’t have a pot to piss in.

Paul-Cincy on January 31, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Early stages appearing?

Kissmygrits on January 31, 2011 at 12:32 PM

He definitely qualifies as a “balloon head”…but he looks like an old time mob boss.

d1carter on January 31, 2011 at 12:32 PM

i don’t see what the problem is the FEd can just print more money regardless of what congress does or doesn’t do. the days of the government controlling the money supply and the debt are long gone. The FED controls it all now.

unseen on January 31, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Chuck Schumer can see the Panama Canal from his pyramid perch.

Shy Guy on January 31, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Imagine the stunned “deer in the headlights” moment when just after Shumer uttered his ignorant statement, if he was immediately corrected with the Executive, Legislative (meaning both House and Senate) and the Judiciary and wait for the sound of his jaw hitting the countertop. SPutter sputter sputter “well, maybe in the school system YOU attended” as he attempts to paint you as the imbecile instead of who it really is.

44Magnum on January 31, 2011 at 12:34 PM

you know, we have three branches of government: we have a House, the Senate, we have a President, and all three of us are going to have to come together and give some.

If they don’t raise the debt ceiling, could we ask Chuck Schumer’s fourth branch of government (aka the Supreme Court) whether it’s constitutional for the government to default?

Constitutional? What’s that? Never read it. /Schumer off

Steve Z on January 31, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Yes, we’re “playing with fire”. Our fiscal house is burning down. We don’t have a pot to piss in.

Paul-Cincy on January 31, 2011 at 12:31 PM

always loved that saying and when i found out it was in releation to being so poor that one had to go to the Tanners to piss in the vats instead of pissing in a pot in privacy and then dumping the pot into the vat made me like the saying even more….

unseen on January 31, 2011 at 12:34 PM

If they don’t raise the debt ceiling, could we ask Chuck Schumer’s fourth branch of government (aka the Supreme Court) whether it’s constitutional for the government to default?

Constitutional? What’s that? Never read it. /Schumer off

Steve Z on January 31, 2011 at 12:34 PM

now everyone knows the 4th branch of government is PRavda.

unseen on January 31, 2011 at 12:35 PM

I thought Beck was actively calling for not raising the debt ceiling, and risking default. Am I wrong?

classicaliberal on January 31, 2011 at 12:18 PM

You know that part about defaulting is BS. Right?

mizflame98 on January 31, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Now, if Sarah Palin had said that…………

Chip on January 31, 2011 at 12:36 PM

So I would urge my Republican colleagues, no matter how strong they feel — you know, we have three branches of government: we have a House, the Senate, we have a President

LOL! Knowing the three branches of government is the most basic civic knowledge. This isn’t even worthy of Civics 101. Perhaps Civics 000.

you’re fired, Chuck. For gross incompetence.

ted c on January 31, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Yes-I thought he was supposed to uphold & defend the Constitution! He doesn’t even know what it says.

INC on January 31, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Now, if Sarah Palin had said that…………

Chip on January 31, 2011 at 12:36 PM

but that’s the thing….Palin would never say something like that. she is smarter than most of these people in DC with their resumes and ivy tower education papers.

unseen on January 31, 2011 at 12:37 PM

He’s a liberal who got 1600 on his SATs (as Schumer himself will tell you if you

jon1979 on January 31, 2011 at 12:19 PM

When the SAT had three parts, for an average of 533 each?

Steve Z on January 31, 2011 at 12:37 PM

can we get a remedial Civics 101 course for members of Congress

Maybe we could start off with the Senate reading the constitution too.

taznar on January 31, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Now, if Sarah Palin had said that…………

Chip on January 31, 2011 at 12:36 PM

but that’s the thing….Palin would never say something like that. she is smarter than most of these people in DC with their resumes and ivy tower education papers.

unseen on January 31, 2011 at 12:37 PM

I would tend to agree, it’s the Leftist that like to pretend they are the smartest in the known universe, and yet they make dumb gaffes like this.

Somehow, that never seems to make a dent in their credibility.

Chip on January 31, 2011 at 12:43 PM

I betcha he thinks they are literal branches.

My branch haz pritty leavez!

withmanitisimpossible on January 31, 2011 at 12:43 PM

MS-NBC’s Chris Matthews to call Shumer a BALOON HEAD in 3, 2, 1……

Oh, my bad; MSNBC only attacks conservative women…

TN Mom on January 31, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Yes-I thought he was supposed to uphold & defend the Constitution! He doesn’t even know what it says.

INC on January 31, 2011 at 12:37 PM

I betcha he can sure read the penumbras and emanations of it tho’….

skillz.

ted c on January 31, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Chuckie doesn’t bother me half as much as the morons who continue to re-elect him.

bloviator on January 31, 2011 at 12:47 PM

bloviator on January 31, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Is he truly being elected?

Just throwing that question out there.

withmanitisimpossible on January 31, 2011 at 12:48 PM

lessee….1 house + 1 senate + 1 president = 3 branches of government.??

From Federalist #51

But it is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self-defense. In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them, by different modes of election and different principles of action, as little connected with each other as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence on the society will admit. It may even be necessary to guard against dangerous encroachments by still further precautions. As the weight of the legislative authority requires that it should be thus divided, the weakness of the executive may require, on the other hand, that it should be fortified. An absolute negative on the legislature appears, at first view, to be the natural defense with which the executive magistrate should be armed. But perhaps it would be neither altogether safe nor alone sufficient. On ordinary occasions it might not be exerted with the requisite firmness, and on extraordinary occasions it might be perfidiously abused. May not this defect of an absolute negative be supplied by some qualified connection between this weaker department and the weaker branch of the stronger department, by which the latter may be led to support the constitutional rights of the former, without being too much detached from the rights of its own department?

Wrap your 1600 SAT score around that one right there Chuckie. It was right, necessary and proper to divide (there’s that math thing again, boy) the branches of government, and their requisite powers. Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Madison did the hard math of “dividing” the powers so that slugs like you could add to 3 today. Well, you got to 3, you just added the wrong items. Strong work fella.

ted c on January 31, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Schumer is another example of the mediocrity of the great majority of Congress persons. Think Ted Kennedy in this case for comparison. He was a Harvard grad and UVA Law School alum, yet widely known for being a dunce. One theory about how people who get high SAT scores and grades, yet are demonstrably stupid, is that they are good at memorizing/parroting but aren’t knowledgeable or widely read, nor do they know how to think critically because they only know how to regurgitate.

JimP on January 31, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Chuck/civics = Obama/57 states.

upinak on January 31, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Imagine if Sarah Palin had said this; it would be on continuous rotation at MSNBC.

You mean like when she correctly identified the Vice President as having a role described in Article I of the Constitution (and Biden misstated it):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_etUpqndn0

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/03/biden-gaffe-vp-is-always-president-of-the-senate/

Abby Adams on January 31, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Or when the left went ballistic over Sarah Palin saying to “Party like it’s 1773?”

UltimateBob on January 31, 2011 at 12:54 PM

His “dauther”, Kay Hagan (D-NC), is just like him. No wonder he paid for all those commercials that lied about Elizabeth Dole’s record and/or made fun of her age.

SouthernGent on January 31, 2011 at 12:56 PM

What an IDIOT

WisCon on January 31, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Schumer is another example of the mediocrity of the great majority of Congress persons. Think Ted Kennedy in this case for comparison. He was a Harvard grad and UVA Law School alum, yet widely known for being a dunce. One theory about how people who get high SAT scores and grades, yet are demonstrably stupid, is that they are good at memorizing/parroting but aren’t knowledgeable or widely read, nor do they know how to think critically because they only know how to regurgitate.

JimP on January 31, 2011 at 12:53 PM

The problem with your theory is that the SAT, LSAT and law school exams don’t test memorization, they test reasoning skills.

I’d agree that one could do very well in high school and undergrad by simply memorizing and regurgitating material, but you can’t ace the SAT, LSAT or law school by doing so.

crr6 on January 31, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Now, if Sarah Palin had said that…………

Chip on January 31, 2011 at 12:36 PM

…you’d all be defending her.

crr6 on January 31, 2011 at 12:59 PM

I was just thinking this probably raised his approval rating, with leftist trash, then crr6 piped in…

MNHawk on January 31, 2011 at 1:06 PM

…you’d all be defending her.

crr6 on January 31, 2011 at 12:59 PM

And you would be smashing windows, burning cars, killing small animals and puking on people shoes.

Kini on January 31, 2011 at 1:06 PM

If George W Bush or Sarah Palin had said this, the liberal media would be up and down screaming that they’re ruining the children of America by misstating a fundamental fact.

But when Schumer says it, he means it from the political perspective.

The LSAT is only a certain kind of reasoning skills, but studying for it, can break it down to certain simple levels. The problem with reasoning tests is that they’re so well-documented you can learn the way to approach that particular test. A good reasoning test would have a dynamic structure, containing questions of multiple kinds with no guarantees as to what will be asked. You wouldn’t be able to prep for a test that never has it’s structure revealed and doesn’t repeat the structure.

amazingmets on January 31, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Maybe in his school they concentrated more on self esteem.

pappy on January 31, 2011 at 1:11 PM

My 19-year-old daughter commented:

“He didn’t watch School House Rock, did he?”

Common Sense on January 31, 2011 at 1:14 PM

What’s new? He personifies what is wrong in D.C. on both sides of the aisle. There are very few incumbents in either party who are representing the best interests of their constituents.

Remember, we imposed term limits on the Presidency after FDR won his 4th term. So, if the President is term limited, why not all branches? That means Congress and the Juduciary!

tomshup on January 31, 2011 at 1:15 PM

From the moment these scum are elected, we are expected to treat them as absolute authority on all matters on which they pontificate, not just politics. We have transferred the faith we used to have in God over to elected tin-gods. We were stupid to have done so and we are paying for it.

SKYFOX on January 31, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Chris Matthews mocking this for weeks will commence in 5…4…3…2…

WAIT!!!!!!!!!!

Did you say Schumer?

I thought you said PALIN!

Never Mind!

Opposite Day on January 31, 2011 at 1:17 PM

I love how the Democrats are lecturing the Republicans on their civic duty, given that the Pelosi and the Democrats never even passed a budget resolution as required by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

Socratease on January 31, 2011 at 1:22 PM

There is a third option, besides (1) raising the debt ceiling or (2) default.

3. Stop the deficit spending.

MassVictim on January 31, 2011 at 1:31 PM

I’ve heard that the most dangerous place in DC is between a camera and Chuck Schumer.

wildweasel on January 31, 2011 at 1:33 PM

…you’d all be defending her.

crr6 on January 31, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Am I to assume you are not defending Chuckie?

belad on January 31, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Did he go to NYC schools?

jeanie on January 31, 2011 at 1:37 PM

crr6 on January 31, 2011 at 12:58 PM

1) It’s not my theory; and
2) I presented it as one possible explanation for how allegedly intelligent, educated people are in reality ignorant fools. Did I present it in an over simplified paraphrasing? Perhaps.

ITF, please read comments carefully and argue with our opponents and not quible with allies.

JimP on January 31, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Am I to assume you are not defending Chuckie?

belad on January 31, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Sure. It was a dumb thing to say.

crr6 on January 31, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Imagine if Sarah Palin had said (executive, legislative and judicial instead of) this; it would be on continuous rotation at MSNBC.

burt on January 31, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Looks like we’ve found our newest contestant for that ever popular TV game show “Who’s smarter than a 5th grader?” My kids learned this in the 5th grade – incidentally they attended a parochial School…..
THere’s a reason he’s referred to as “Chucky Schmucky” – still trying to find someone who actually admits to voting for this arrogant jerk!

huskerdiva on January 31, 2011 at 2:00 PM

It is playing with fire to run the debt up so high, Chuck.

saiga on January 31, 2011 at 2:00 PM

One might have assumed that an attorney like Schumer would know that the judiciary is the third branch of government.

These stupid statements are stacking up… who is keeping them for a hilarious video?

Make sure and include the sign outrage at Jon Stewart silly rally. Obama is a Keynesian… and the Constitution is a hundred years old… Republicans health care plan is they want people to die… 57 states… others?

petunia on January 31, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Why would he know that? Other than the fact that he was the ranking member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Courts.

BrunoMitchell on January 31, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Had to double check – Yep, Schumer is actually ON the Senate Judiciary Committee.

BrunoMitchell on January 31, 2011 at 2:24 PM

He probably told Chris Matthew’s that the Suez Cannel was the Panama Cannel and that island in the Pacific would definitely turn over if we landed 5000 military on it that the Congressman reported saying on U-Tube.

mixplix on January 31, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Morons ‘represent’ the people…but then the people are morons, in the majority.

Schadenfreude on January 31, 2011 at 2:51 PM

I dare someone to say “bicameralsim” to Chuck.

I double dog dare ya…

Odie1941 on January 31, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Perhaps Schumer should familiarize himself with the actual issue at hand, but first, can we get a remedial Civics 101 course for members of whole new Congress?

I like that idea better.

iurockhead on January 31, 2011 at 3:48 PM

I do not know who is the bigger moron senator from NY, Bride of Chuckie Schumer or Kirsten Gillebrand. (Let’s say it’s a tie and call it a day.) And these two supposedly represent me. Aaack!

RickZ on January 31, 2011 at 3:49 PM

So if the govt shut down, what would happen?

Schumer is such a moron….

jeffn21 on January 31, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Before you know it, these progressives will be demanding we provide welfare and promote the defense of the states.

Oh wait….

csdeven on January 31, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Schmucky Schumer had a 1600 on his SAT’s?

Every liberal knows the three branches of government are Manny, Moe and Jack.

dthorny on January 31, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Schumer had a 1600 on his SAT’s?

Every liberal know the three branches of Gov’t are Manny, Moe and Jack!

dthorny on January 31, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Now, if Sarah Palin had said that…………

Chip on January 31, 2011 at 12:36 PM

…you’d all be defending her.

crr6 on January 31, 2011 at 12:59 PM

But she didn’t. Chuck Schumer did. A leading democrat. A Harvard graduate.

rrpjr on January 31, 2011 at 5:50 PM

I suspect that before the last election Schumer would have informed us that the three branches of government are the president, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and don’t we forget it! That was almost the impression I had. Thank goodness the voters didn’t know Schumer civics.

Chessplayer on January 31, 2011 at 5:54 PM

So, Chuckles, does that make the judicial branch the Fourth Estate, and the media part of the Fifth Column?

What a maroon.

Christien on January 31, 2011 at 6:26 PM

according to special report

schumer backtracked saying it is the 3 parties at the table

yeah right

cmsinaz on January 31, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Playing with fire is safer than taking a civics lesson from Chuck Schumer.

Slowburn on January 31, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Imagine if Sarah Palin had said this; it would be on continuous rotation at MSNBC.

Yes

You mean like when she correctly identified the Vice President as having a role described in Article I of the Constitution (and Biden misstated it):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_etUpqndn0

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/03/biden-gaffe-vp-is-always-president-of-the-senate/

Abby Adams on January 31, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Yes.

Or when the left went ballistic over Sarah Palin saying to “Party like it’s 1773?”

UltimateBob on January 31, 2011 at 12:54 PM

and Yes.

Red State State of Mind on January 31, 2011 at 10:41 PM

Chuck ‘U’ Schumer now this man needs to change his name to
Up-Chuck ‘U’ Smuck to clearly describe him as an organism.

MSGTAS on February 1, 2011 at 8:41 AM