Here in the heart of northern liberalism, we get the occasional reminder that our political poobahs are really just a variation on the repugnant-Republican theme that it’s so easy to dislike. Take Charles (the Snake) Schumer: he genuflects at all the correct issues, votes right on abortion, rails against Romney and Sarah Palin, and never misses a photo-op with Obama and Harry Reid.
And yet behind the liberal veneer, Schumer and his entourage (Kirsten Gillibrand, Anthony Weiner and a whole second generation emerging from his school) are quick to pander to any selfish, dumb concern arising from their constituents. Schumer couldn’t wait 24 hours after the bin Laden killing to dhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifrum up panic over some vague plans to try to put bombs on trains and promptly demanded ‘no-ride’ lists for Amtrak, no doubt scoring points with nervous-nellie corporate suits who don’t give two shits about what that might mean for innocent (non-white) users. Greenwald was killingly funny about this half-baked idea:
‘To replicate [no-fly lists] for trains—all because some documents mentioned them among thousands of other ideas Al Qaeda has undoubtedly considered over the years—is hysteria and ludicrous over-reaction of the highest order. Trains can obviously be attacked without boarding them (indeed, these documents apparently discussed tampering with the rails, which wouldn't require boarding the trains at all). And if there’s a ‘no-ride’ list for Amtrak, why not for subways and buses, too? If Al Qaeda is found to have discussed targeting restaurants, will we have a no-eat list? If Al Qaeda is found to have discussed targeting large intersections or landmarks, will we have a no-walk list? How about a no-shop list in response to the targeting of malls?’
But Schumer could care less about the sense or nonsense of his knee-jerk reaction. He’s sniffing out a pherome from the body politic and spritzing it all over himself, the better to attract votes and campaign cash.
Weiner, a congressman from a Brooklyn/Queens district, is another master of this habit of pumping up stupid and reactionary impulses for personal gain. According to my bike club, when Weiner wanted to run for mayor, he warned the current occupant that his first act would be to ‘tear out your fucking bike lanes’, the ones outer-borough drivers are whining about because they have to share the roadways and give up parking spaces. This is a perfect reflection of the approach of the Schumer-Weiner school: listen carefully for what the comfy, middle-class meatheads are worried about, amplify the rhetoric X10 and parade yourself as the valiant defender of Right. Never mind whether the policy in question is good or bad for the city/state/country or its underlying fairness, prudence or utility.