My View: Blaming the DACA Debacle on Schumer Is Absurd


Almost always, if you compare my view on an issue to the Blue Meanie’s, mine will be the more progressive.


But not this time. AZBM recently shared his view, easily the majority view of progressives, that Chuck Schumer was a worse negotiator even than Trump.

I really, really wish Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were not the face of the Democratic Party. So Schumer taking heat here from the base doesn’t bother me personally. But objectively, it’s wrong.

Yes, the DACA situation is horrific and it was frustrating to see Schumer and the Senate Democrats not save the Dreamers. But blame would be appropriate only if a better result was achievable, and I don’t see how that’s so.

Politically, Schumer was dealt an impossibly weak hand. His only path to success was to keep 41 Democrats together to filibuster the continuing budget resolution. The Republicans who’d voted no were not going to a second time. Five Democrats already had voted yes. How long would it have been before a few more bolted? And keep in mind that the tactic Schumer was forced to employ — shutting down the government — was asymmetrical. DACA has no direct connection to the budget. Yeah, I know, deporting the Dreamers will cost money — a lot of it — but few Americans would grasp that connection and that’s not why we’re fighting this fight.

To blame the DACA debacle on Schumer is to blame him for singlehandedly failing to change the ugly reality of America today. And that’s absurd. As a country, America has lost its collective sense of human decency. That truth is self-evident in the fact that we are even having this debate; that the possibility even exists that people who have lived here since age 2 may be deported from the only country they know, because, let’s face it, they have brown skin.

Consider the evil forces Schumer is facing. The Trump administration, the Speaker of the House, and the Majority Leader of the Senate all would have no problem deporting the Dreamers and also seeing millions of American children go without health care. The great majority of congressional Republicans feel the same way. In fact, many desire that result. And the few who don’t — Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham, for example — are timid and unreliable. Look, McConnell broke the promise he made to Flake on DACA. With only 51 Republican Senators, Flake had a lot of leverage, even more if he got just one Republican colleague to join him, to force McConnell to keep to his word. Did he use that leverage? No.

Add to the mix that white America having lost its collective mind (if it ever had one). Yes, the polls show overwhelming support for the Dreamers, but answering a pollster’s question in a humane way is far different than actually being humane. Some of the same folks that say the support the Dreamers when asked also refer to them as “DACA illegals.” And many who nominally support the Dreamers no longer would if a soldier might have to wait an extra week for his paycheck. Yes, it was actually McConnell who placed military pay at risk, but that fact will  not be exposed on Fox News.

Finally, you have the red state Senators, particularly those up for election in 2018. The cold truth is that if they were given the choice of seeing 800,000 Dreamers being deported or losing their Senate seats, every one of them would sell the Dreamers out.

So Schumer cut the best deal he could. In the end, this won’t turn on McConnell. On that point, I agree with AZBM. McConnell is a POS and a liar. There should be a special place in hell for him. Instead, it will turn on the decency of a handful of Senate Republicans, particularly Jeff Flake. And if their sense of decency does not prevail? I’d rather not contemplate that right now.

The bottom line: America is anything but the exceptional country many claim it is. Perhaps it never was. And that’s not Chuck Schumer’s fault.


  1. McSally is still attacking Democrats on Fox News. This is really about the name recognition she needs for her senate campaign as well as creating a far-right conservative persona for the GOP primary.

    It looks as though Fox is more than willing to promote her.

    FOX Business‏Verified account

    .@RepMcSally on government shutdown: “[The Democrats] realized that it was an epic political miscalculation but it’s not a game. Our American troops are the ones that are suffering.”

    2:30 PM – 22 Jan 2018

  2. This right here:

    “As a country, America has lost its collective sense of human decency. That truth is self-evident in the fact that we are even having this debate…”

    It’s true that Chuck Schumer had a weak hand politically but he also had the moral high ground. Actually, the Democrats had the moral high ground, or they could have had it, but their messaging is off.

    MSM coverage was lame, focused on who the voters blamed for the shutdown, Democrats or Republicans. Republicans tried, with limited success, to claim they were the moral ones trying to protect our military which, of course, was a lie.

    The failure that I see in all of this is the inability of the left to get the stories of DACA recipients, Dreamers, Puerto Rico (remember them?), etc…disseminated from social media into mainstream news.

    This just keeps happening. The women’s marches this past weekend received very little MSM coverage as well.

    In the absence of factual information people are just simply more apt to believe what they hear or to make it up for themselves and move on.

    But the real question is, how moral are we as a nation? How generous? How compassionate? If all of us had access to the same information and that information was factual, would we collectively
    have compassion for the children of undocumented immigrants, children dependent on government provided healthcare, the people living in hurricane devastated Puerto Rico, etc…?

    The true horror of it all is that these are the bargaining chips being used in the games being played in the Senate. They’re playing with people’s lives and that is just wrong.

    Chuck Schumer certainly cannot be blamed for how we got to this point. But I believe that the issue with Schumer is that he “caved” too soon. I think that the Democrats feared they would lose public support and ultimately be blamed for the shutdown. And without effective messaging, that could certainly happen.

    • I’m really glad you liked those lines you quoted.

      As for whether Schumer caved too early, consider what he gave up and what he got. He gave up 17 days and he gave up the upside potential, I think minimal, that public opinion would have strengthened his position. He got (a) CHIP off the table; (b) avoiding the risk, I think substantial, that public opinion would move against him and weaken his position; (c) a change in the media coverage from this fight to Trump’s ongoing problems on other fronts; (d) a commitment, however weak and unreliable, from McConnell to bring legislation to the floor two weeks from now; and (e) perhaps most importantly, a commitment from 10 or 12 Senate Republicans to be tougher on McConnell two weeks from now. That last point goes beyond DACA, Liza. DACA only is the crucible in which those 10 or 12 Senate Republicans are being tested. They’re the hope. They’re the ones who maybe will put an end to the madness. If they don’t, nobody else will, until November, and that’s a long way off.

      • I guess we’ll see what happens in two weeks. In the meantime, Trump doubles down on his wall. Even if 10 or 12 GOP Senators decide to seek redemption, there is still the House, and there is Trump. SMH.

        Donald J. Trump
        ‏Verified account
        13h13 hours ago

        Cryin’ Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA. We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!

  3. I very much agree!!! But:
    1) Let’s not forget that Schumer did get a six year extension of SCHIP.
    2) It might be better if Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were not the face of the Dem Party but the Repubs would paint a picture of the leaders as villains no matter who they are.
    3) The Repubs accuse the Dems of trying to enlarge the number of voters by making DACA people eligible to vote. That’s quite a stretch when they (childhood arrivals) amount to less than a half of one percent of the population; about one congressional district.

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