Last Thursday evening Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rounded up the Republican support necessary to raise the debt limit until December. Senator McConnell’s assistance did not earn any gratitude from Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer took to the Senate floor to excoriate Senate Republicans for creating a “risky drama.” What had been avoided, Schumer said, was “a first-ever, Republican-manufactured default on the national debt.”
“Republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game, and I am glad that their brinksmanship did not work,” Schumer added. “For the good of America’s families, for the good of our economy, Republicans must recognize in the future that they should approach fixing the debt limit in a bipartisan way.”
Seated directly behind Schumer as he spoke, Senator Manchin expressed his disapproval of his tirade in a theatrical display (video below, via Scott Whitlock/Newsbusters).
It would be a mistake to take either Schumer or Manchin at face value, but I don’t profess to understand the Schuminations underlying the tirade. I doubt that Schumer’s tirade benefits either Schumer individually or Senate Democrats. I am not aware of a single Democrat who has stepped forward to defend Schumer or to explain his thinking.
I infer, perhaps mistakenly, that Senator McConnell calculates an advantage in forcing Democrats to deal with the issue in December. If Schumer concurs, that might explain his tirade. If not, maybe it’s just Schumer being Schumer.
Senator McConnell responded on Friday in “a scathing letter” (as the New York Times called it). The letter was addressed to President Biden. Senator McConnell has posted a copy of the letter online here.
“Last night, in a bizarre spectacle, Senator Schumer exploded in a rant that was so partisan, angry, and corrosive that even Democratic Senators were visibly embarrassed by him and for him,” McConnell wrote. “This childish behavior only further alienated the Republican members who helped facilitate this short-term patch.”
President Trump criticized McConnell for “folding to the Democrats, again. He’s got all of the cards with the debt ceiling, it’s time to play the hand. Don’t let them destroy our Country!” Trump was joined in his criticism by Lindsey Graham, a factor that makes me doubt the soundness of Trump’s critique. At this point I give the advantage to Cocaine Mitch.