Schumer’s thinking ahead

SCHUMER’S THINKING AHEAD…. Time will tell if a good health care reform bill actually becomes law this year, but if it does, I’ll be inclined to give Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) a lot of credit. He’s been pretty consistent in championing progressive goals; he’s been aggressive in speaking out against watering the bill down; he’s reminded his colleagues that policy matters more than process; he’s been effective on television; and he’s been focusing on strategy behind the scenes.

Senator Chuck Schumer is privately urging fellow Dem Senators to aggressively argue in the media that the GOP is wholly committed to blocking reform, in order to lay the political groundwork should Dems have to do reform alone, senior Senate aides confirm to me. […]

Schumer has also told colleagues he believes political work has to be done in advance to sell “reconciliation” by persuading voters that the GOP is wholly opposed to reform of any kind, aides say. So he’s now urging fellow Senators to make the case about GOP obstructionism in a concerted way.

This may seem like common sense, but part of an effective pitch is coordinating a message and laying the rhetorical groundwork. Schumer seems to get this better than most.

Better yet, GOP leaders — Kyl, Grassley, Enzi — have given Dems a lot to work with in demonstrating the fact that a bipartisan bill is effectively impossible right now. Greg Sargent’s talked to a senior Senate aide who added, “[Schumer] is urging colleagues to emphasize the GOP’s role in spreading false myths — like death panels and illegal immigrants being covered — and to emphasize GOP statements like Kyl saying he wants ZERO votes for health care.”

I can’t speak to Schumer’s motivations, but whatever is driving him, I’m glad to see him step up the way he has.