Remember when Chuck Schumer cared about New York? Or at least pretended he did?
This was before he became majority leader of the US Senate — a pretty big deal, though of precious little benefit to the folks back home.
With New York City staggering under the $5-million-a-day cost of sheltering President Biden’s migrants, it seems Schumer might engage more energetically on border integrity.
Not at all.
And now Chuck-from-Brooklyn appears to care more about crime in Washington than he does about the mayhem in his hometown.
On Tuesday, Schumer did his bit to kill local DC legislation that substantively would have inflicted on the district what New York’s wrong-headed criminal-justice “reforms” did to the Empire State beginning three years ago.
And good for him. DC doesn’t need more crime.
But neither does Gotham — and yet Schumer silently looks away as Mayor Adams begs New York lawmakers to repair their damage.
Certainly Schumer would be listened to: When long-time frenemy Andrew Cuomo departed public life, Chuck became the unrivaled Incredible Hulk of New York politics.
Normally, of course, Schumer should stick to his DC duties, leaving New York’s affairs to its elected leaders — such as they are.
But there’s the rub: Real leaders lead. To date, Gov. Hochul, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins have quietly watched crime suffocate post-COVID recovery — never mind its human costs.
This partly is because they are progressive Democrats — the party having decided that the correct strategic response to the murder of a career criminal by a rogue cop was to gut America’s penal codes.
And so now crime is enjoying early-’90s-style revivals in venues run by progressive Democrats. Go figure.
Slight Chi of relief
But could this be changing?
Voters in blood-spattered Chicago kicked out Mayor Lori Lightfoot last week; locals say this was all about crime.
Important people elsewhere seem to have noticed: The White House promptly made clear its opposition to the DC crime bill — whereupon Schumer, rarely in the vanguard of anything sensible, announced he’d be voting with Republicans against the bill.
Because Congress must approve significant DC local legislation, this effectively killed it.
And now comes news that Hochul is pressuring the Legislature to roll back its tragically ill-considered “reforms.”
“We’re talking about protecting society in a way that people would think is common sense,” she said Tuesday.
Precedent suggests that the key word here is “talking” — but if she means it, she’s going to need help.
This is where Schumer comes in. Or could.
Way back when, the American Civil Liberties Union was always chewing on the senator’s leg about crime. “Whatever [Schumer] perceives to be the tough-on-crime stance is what he takes,” said an ACLU attorney back then.
Oh, for the good old days.
But wouldn’t it be nice if Chuck-from-Brooklyn returned to those roots?
Stern phonecalls to Hochul, Heastie and Stewart-Cousins would be as big a help in Gotham as was his crime-bill posture in DC.
Go for it, senator.