In an interview with Politico, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-Ny., used intense partisan language to attack Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., calling the GOP leader’s strategy “petty” and painting him as weak.
The extensive piece shows the New York Democrat criticizing McConnell on a number of fronts, from the high-profiled budget negotiations to little known trade agreements. The two have been bitter foes since 2008, when the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that Schumer chaired ran attack ads against McConnell over the bank bailout.
“Schumer wants people to think that Republicans are in charge. Given the way the economy has gone under their/the president’s watch, I don’t blame him,” said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart.
As observers note, Schumer’s heated rhetoric may be a preview of the Democratic Party’s strategy for the 2012 election—tying the GOP agenda around McConnell’s neck.
With the middle-class and independent vote up for grabs in 2012, Schumer reported that Republican senators are privately voicing discontent and growing “uncomfortable” with McConnell’s strategy.
“McConnell sold his troops on a strategy where they would oppose virtually anything important that came through the Senate,” he said. “I think a lot of his own members are beginning to chafe under that plan because they want to be constructive and actually legislate.”
Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, who leads his caucus’s policy and communications strategy, said Democrats often hear that GOP senators want to work with them on legislation. But “all too often,” he said, “Sen. McConnell is trying to prevent that.”
Others are beginning to speculate how these two will be able to work together if Schumer becomes Majority Leader as many predict.