By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

As Mark Twain said of Wagner, I hope Chuck Schumer is better than he sounds

A performance of Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung.” 1917 photo.

What Mark Twain once said of Wagner — “I have been told that Wagner’s music is better than it sounds” — could be applied to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: I’ve heard that he’s not as bad as he seems. Right now, though, Schumer seems really bad in refusing to call for the resignation of Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who’s been indicted on lurid federal bribery charges involving everything from gold bullion to a Mercedes-Benz convertible. Schumer went so far as to call Menendez a “dedicated public servant” and said, “He has a right to due process and a fair trial.”

Why do I say that Schumer isn’t as bad as he seems? Because he’s probably having private talks with Menedez right now aimed at getting him to step down, figuring that discreet persuasion will work better than public humiliation. The problem is that such thinking is the product of a bygone age, unsuited to the always-on public performance that modern politics demands. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who’s older than Schumer, figured it out. But Schumer appears to be too set in his ways to make the adjustment.

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1 Comment

  1. Lex Alexander

    Yes, Menendez should resign. And unlike Dan, I would be STUNNED if Schumer is, in fact, working behind the scenes to get Menendez to resign. My expectations of Schumer are simply that low.

    On the bright side, I don’t see or hear any Democrats claiming that Menendez’s prosecution is a political hit job, or that Menendez is innocent and the victim of a “witch hunt.” Not sure why I might have expected otherwise.

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