The Democrats have begun selecting their new slate of leaders, with the Senate roster being pretty much fleshed out. At the top of the heap is the new Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer (New York). Having successfully moved in to replace Harry Reid, Chuck wasted no time letting the President Elect and the GOP majority know that he wasn’t in the mood for any conservative tomfoolery about Obamacare or Dodd-Frank and he was putting the other party on notice. (Associated Press)

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York is threatening political payback if congressional Republicans and President-elect Donald Trump try to undo President Barack Obama’s major legislative achievements.

“They will rue the day” they repeal Obama’s health care law, Senate Democrats’ leader-in-waiting told The Associated Press in an interview in his office on Friday. “It’s a political nightmare for them. They’ll be like the dog that caught the bus.”

[…]

“He should not even try to think about repealing Dodd-Frank,” Schumer said. “We will have enough votes to beat that back.”

As leader of a 48-member Senate Democratic Caucus next year, Schumer will command enough votes to block majority Republicans from getting the 60 votes needed to proceed on most major legislation.

So that was… I’m sorry. Did you say something? I sort of drifted off there for a moment.

I suppose Schumer is forced to put on a brave front at this point to keep up the spirits of his caucus, but he really doesn’t have many cards to play. The GOP already has the votes to repeal Obamacare. In fact, they’ve sent just such a bill to the President’s desk in the past. Dodd-Frank will be a bit more tricky and, like the ACA, will need some sort of replacement legislation drafted before moving forward, but once it’s in motion it’s going to be like a bulldozer. Schumer would do well to ensure that he’s not standing in the way of it.

The other side of the coin for Chuck Schumer is that not only does he lack the votes to do much to curb the GOP agenda (particularly if we nuke the filibuster in fine Harry Reid style) but he’s been facing something of a revolt on his own left flank. There were plenty of disgusted liberals carping about the need to restart the party in a more progressive mold with some fresh faces, and Schumer is just more of the same old medicine. The Bernie Sanders / Elizabeth Warren wing of the party clearly would have liked to see somebody else.

This isn’t anything new, either. You’ll recall that back when the Iran deal was being cooked up, loud voices on the left were pointing out that Schumer (much like Trump) opposed the bargain and was thus disqualified from any Senate leadership position. (Crooks and Liars)

Schumer is in the top 10 when it comes to Senators receiving support from AIPAC. But interestingly, his counterpart from New York — Kirsten Gillibrand — has actually received more than he has, and has decided to support the deal. One can only assume that Schumer waited until he had the space or knew the veto wouldn’t be overridden before declaring his intention to oppose the deal.

It doesn’t really matter whether it was donations or paranoia that drove his decision. What does matter is simple enough: He has chosen to actively oppose the leader of his party and support Israel rather than the foreign policy of the country in which he serves as an elected official.

That disqualifies him from all consideration for leadership.

Wow. And that was coming from a Democratic stronghold more than a year ago. The Democrats are in disarray currently and trying to cobble back together the coalition they’ve always depended on to win elections. But there’s trouble in paradise and Schumer should probably worry about putting out the fires in his own tent before he attempts to start urinating into ours. It’s also worth pointing out that you’re the Minority Leader (as opposed to the majority) for a reason, Senator Schumer. The voters made their choice. But thanks anyway for the call, Chuck. Consider us to be officially, “on notice.”

Chuck Schumer