At a time when
But for political junkies, Schumer's speech at the
Somewhere, a straw man's ears are burning.
His greatest hits are familiar to anyone who has paid attention. From "you didn't build that" to "government is us," Obama has cast government as the engine of progress. His 2012 campaign's "Life of Julia" ad was a tech-friendly updating of Wilson's progressive vision of getting the individual to "marry his interests to the state." Obama laid out that vision in great detail in his second inaugural and countless other speeches. More important, he has pushed policies -- from Obamacare to tax hikes -- to back up his rhetoric.
In Schumer's telling, however, the Democrats must "embrace government." What movie was he watching? This is the essence of ideological liberalism: Government is always the answer. It would be fun to see Schumer as a contestant on Jeopardy responding to every category, "What is proof we need more government?"
Because liberals lack philosophical diversity on the role of government, all they have left to disagree about is tactics. And that's where Schumer's speech is a breath of fresh air. The senator has no principled objection to a government takeover of health care; what he objects to now is the timing. Back in 2009-10, he was a vocal champion of the law.
Last week, he said, "Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem -- health care reform."
The senator said he still favors Obamacare's goals, but "it wasn't the change we were hired to make." Voters wanted Obama and his party to fix the economy. Indeed, in a remarkable moment of honest cynicism, Schumer went into great detail lamenting how the law was designed to help mostly poor people who for the most part don't vote.
Morally, this is a fascinating admission. In Schumer's hierarchy of needs, winning elections for Democrats matters more than helping the truly needy. Call it uncompassionate liberalism.
The great irony here is that Schumer is widely seen as a blocking tackle for
The irony is that Clinton's appeal is that she will reincarnate the alleged successes of her husband's presidency. The hitch:
And that, for Schumer, Obama and