In the car this morning, I was listening to Chuck Schumer being interviewed by Terry Gross. I have to say, I've always had a soft-spot for the guy. First, he's just so New York (that voice!) it's hard for me not to like him. Second, he came to talk at my university when I was an undergrad about the Violence Against Women Act and I was blown away by how knowledgeable and passionate he was about the topic. Even as he's moved in a strange, hawkish direction post 9/11, I've retained an affection for him, but his performance on Fresh Air was frustrating.
Atrios has done a thorough job documenting the idiocy of Democratic politicans talking to the press about how "Democrats don't have a message" or "Democrats always say what they're against, but not what they're for." That's a perfectly fine point for a pundit or journalist or dude in a bar to make, but if you're a sitting Senator, you're in a unique position to do something about the putative lack of message and that is: Articulate your message! No one's stopping you. There's no reason to spend precious air time talking about a lack of message when you can easily help solve the problem.
And what is Chuck Schumer's message? Well, it's almost like an Onion headline about the Democrats. It's called the 50% solution, and I'll let Mark Schmitt, reviewing the book over at TPM Cafe, sum up why it's such a lemon:
Most of Senator Schumer's halfway goals don't really lend themselves to that kind of 50% solution. Others have commented on the terrorism section, so I won't talk about that. But take the goal of reducing children's access to internet pornography by 50%. As a parent, I don't want my child to be exposed to pornography, and as a First Amendment civil libertarian, I don't want a lot of restrictions on free expression on the internet. That's a conflict. But the halfway point -- accepting some restrictions as a price for reducing children's exposure to pornography by 50% -- seems the worst of both worlds. I don't want young children to see just half as much porn! And I don't know what a "Schumer Box" is or how it reduces porn, and I'm not sure I want to know.