Skip to content

Who’s the Senate Majority Leader in Waiting? The Post says it’s Schumer

May 21, 2010

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in trouble.   Most polls have him trailing in his reelection bid. 

Reid’s announcement earlier this month that the Senate would take up immigration reform instead of climate change was a signal to many that he is concerned about his political future.

Reid’s about-face cost climate change backers their only Republican vote as Sen. Lindsey Graham walked away from the Kerry-Lieberman bill and called Reid’s decision a cynical political manuever designed to capture Hispanic support back home.

Now, the national news media is handicapping the race between Senators Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer to determine who will replace Reid if and when the Nevadan is defeated in November.

In a lengthy profile, the Washington Post concludes it will be Schumer — not Durbin — who will win the quiet campaign to become the next  Majority Leader of the United States Senate.

During his three-decade legislative career, Schumer, 59, has developed a reputation as a razor-elbowed, shamelessly self-serving, media-addicted political monster. He is also arguably the single most effective lawmaker of his generation.

The senator has thrust himself into the center of issues including jobs, immigration and Supreme Court hearings, but as that momentum has carried him into a more intimate arena where popularity matters, the grating architect of the current Democratic majority has become noticeably more collegial. Perhaps not coincidentally, his colleagues see him as the front-runner to be their leader.

Interestingly, the Post quotes a “senior administration official” who predicts it will be Schumer who prevails.

The White House is trying to appear neutral, with mixed results.

“The president has a record of working well with both,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. “Obviously he has a longer, more personal relationship with Senator Durbin as a result of being home-state colleagues and for his help getting him elected in 2004 and 2008.”

There is a sense within the White House that Durbin would be easier to work with, that Schumer would pose a problem on issues that could get him press back home, and that his Brooklyn bearing doesn’t exactly play between the coasts. Still, one senior administration official offered a separate assessment that the members of the Senate would opt for the independence ensured by having Schumer at the helm.

“Chuck Schumer is the next majority leader,” the senior administration official predicted. “He just works it.”

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: