Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month, As Trump Derangement Eats Chuck Schumer’s Brain [UPDATED]

Luckily, the Senator was hammerless…

NY Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader (who sure seemed like a nice, reasonable guy in my two brief encounters with him), apparently needs an intervention.

According to witnesses, Schumer became enraged this weekend when he encountered Joseph A. Califano Jr. (former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Carter)  and his wife, Hilary, having a quiet dinner at the stylish Upper East Side restaurant Sette Mezzo. Schumer, dining with friends, began shouting at the couple and Califano’s wife in particular, saying, “She voted for Trump!” The Califanos left the restaurant, and the distinguished Senator followed them outside, continuing to harass Hilary Califano, saying,  “ ‘How could you vote for Trump? He’s a liar!’

Mrs. Califano confirmed the account. “Sen. Schumer was really rude . . . I should have told him that Hillary Clinton was a liar, but I was so surprised I didn’t say anything.”

A spokesman for Schumer denies this occurred, saying, “[He] and his wife ate at the café on Sunday, engaging in unremarkable conversation with patrons who approached their table. There were no heated exchanges with ‎anyone.”

Once again, almost all “conservative” media reports that Schumer was ranting at Califano. No left-leaning media has covered the story at all (so far), except The Hill. How do we know what happened, with journalism rejecting objectivity? The mainstream media actively works to bury stories that don’t serve their agendas, while the other side habitually over-hypes. If we take the MSN’s silence for the truth, then the episode becomes “old news,” and is effectively muted.

I have to maneuver this disgusting swamp every day. In this case, I’m going with the New York Post Page Six account, first because it’s the local paper; second, because I find it hard to believe that any paper would try to manufacture an incident in a crowded restaurant; third, because Mrs. Califano confirmed it, and finally, because Democrats have been increasingly unhinged for months.

Update: when that post was written, no leftward mainstream media sources reported the incident, though it was unquestionable newsworthy. If Senator McCain or Mitch McConnell, and certainly Sarah Palin, had behaved this way, it would be on every front page and CNN would be leading with it every hour.  I noted that this was a perfect example of how the polarization of news sources works today; I also wondered if the story would ultimately be debunks or credibly denied. The story  hasn’t been debunked, and the Left’s media pals have ignored it. From now on, I think I’ll ask any desperate denier of news media bias try to explain this.

So…

This is another episode of what Ethics Alarms has dubbed “The Hamilton Effect,” except that I, perhaps foolishly in this cultural climate, expect better behavior from U.S. Senators than from arrogant actors and obnoxious airplane passengers.  Califano and his wife have every right to have a pleasant, non-political dinner without being harassed and berated by anyone, especially their U.S. Senator. It’s not quite as bad as airplane ambushes, where their alternative is to parachute out, or a theater, but it’s bad enough.

This wasn’t just a breach of civility by Schumer, it was a breach of the Golden Rule, decency, common sense, and the dignity of his office, the Senate, and I would say his party, except that its post-election conduct,  of which Schumer’s is not atypical, has leached it of most of its dignity already. No American has any justification to berate any citizen for his or her vote or non-vote, and doing so in public, in a harassing manner, is uncivilized—unfair, disrespectful, indefensible. For a leader of the government to do this signals to those with weak ethical bearings that it is acceptable conduct, and it is not.

Final thoughts on a disturbing episode (if true):

1.  Does Schumer have an alcohol problem? I hope so: at least that would be an excuse for this. If he acts like this while in full commend of his senses, Democrats ought to shift the focus of their “he might be crazy” narrative to a different elected official.

2. Trump Derangement really is beginning to resemble rabies, or some other communicable disease. I would never have thought that Schumer would be capable of such conduct.

3. Any elected official of any party who acted like this would be an Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month on Ethics Alarms.

4. How can our government function when party leaders behave this way, and apparently think is acceptable to do so?

5. How can ordinary citizens be expected to treat each other with respect regardless of political orientation, when the professionals can’t control themselves?

6. Frequent readers know that I admire the cool, measured and original analysis of blogress Ann Althouse. Will someone please explain to me what this opinion, regarding this episode, means? (Note that Althouse apparently believes it took place)

Oh, come on. People aren’t aloud allowed to have vivid political conversations in a restaurant? I think it’s nice that Chuck Schumer displays his opinions and personality in full public view. If you don’t like hearing what other people say in restaurants, have your own exciting conversation, or eat somewhere else.

If it’s a joke, it’s a botched one. If she’s serious, she’s lost it.

25 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Professions

25 responses to “Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month, As Trump Derangement Eats Chuck Schumer’s Brain [UPDATED]

  1. JP

    It is hard to tell if she is joking. She does have the word aloud crossed out so it could be a play on words. However context seems to indicate that she really believes that this is OK.

  2. Wayne

    It’s too bad one of Califano’s kids wasn’t around: They probably would have punched Schumer in the mouth. Califano is 85 years old so I suppose fleeing the restaurant with his wife would be the best he could do. Maybe next time he should bring some pepper spray.

  3. As democratic leader in the Senate he is still an upgrade over Harry Reid. That’s not saying much, but its not even close.

    • Wayne

      I don’t think Harry Reid, as bad as he is ever screamed at another politicians wife in a restaurant.

    • Arthur in Maine

      Schumer is a weasel and a political hack. He’s not as horrid as Reid became as Reid neared his exit, but since November Schumer has shown he has the potential to become even worse, IMO.

  4. A.M. Golden

    Did no one with a cell phone record the incident? Typically, this type of outrageous behavior by a famous person would be viral video material.

    • Emily

      I’m not sure “people who think to whip out their phone” and “people who recognize their senator on sight” are demographics with a lot of overlap. I’m sure there are some folks out there who might have, but it’s not shocking to me if no one there with a phone at the ready realized who this crazy guy was.

  5. Sarah B.

    Regarding Ms. Althouse, she replies, deeply in her comments, that this intentional misspelling (and possibly the opinion though the comment is unclear on that) was part of something meant to be a joke that didn’t get finished and sounded better in her head than on paper.

  6. Spartan

    This is slightly off topic, but I’m pretty sure I would take up arms if yoga pants/leggings ever became outlawed.

    Spandex is tacky though unless you are on a long bike ride. Well, actually, they still look gross on most people, but they should be allowed.

  7. Other Bill

    I’m beginning to wish HRC had won. I’m about ready to leave the country before I come down with Trump derangement syndrome rejection syndrome. I don’t see the Democrats ever regaining their senses until they have the White House back.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      So the Democrats are all two years old? “Give me what I want or I’ll throw unreasonable tantrums until I get it.”

      • Other Bill

        Just not sure, Steve. Two year olds grow out of the terrible twos. I’m just not sure this situation is going to settle down. I just saw where HRC is now back making speeches and stirring up “the resistance.” Awful. It seems to be getting worse rather than winding down.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          At this point they advance mentally until college turns them from budding young adults back into toddlers. Then the left wants them to STAY toddlers.

  8. E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

    I think this is more than Trump Derangement — though of course Trump as POTUS is making it worse. It is the awful, seemingly uncontrolled downturn in civility generally in this country. We dress like slobs, we act like slobs, and we talk like slobs. We seem to have no control over our behavior: in perhaps two generations, all bets are off in terms of civil behavior.

    When my son was very young I did want him to learn to be a “gentleman.” This had nothing to do with money, class, or beliefs: it was attitudinal and behavioral only.

    My explanation was this: what you do or say in the privacy of your own home — absent breaking the law — is absolutely one’s own business.

    Outside the home, however, is where being a ‘gentleman’ comes into play. The key to being a gentleman is to match your public behavior to where you are and who you are with — doing so with grace and civility without , compromising your own personal ethic.

    Thus, though he might hear (and say) the F-word, pick his nose, or fart in the privacy of his own home, this is never gentlemanly behavior in other venues. Maybe I should have pulled out Geo Washington’s 100 Rules of Civility, but it seemed to work anyway.

    My young millennial son can act like any silly 22-year-old with his friends, but can converse politely with adults, would never create a disturbance in a public place for the heck of it, never denigrates people for his own enjoyment, and never, ever bullies. No, he’s not perfect, but I have been with him in both public and private situations and have witnessed his understanding of civility and being a gentleman. Schumer’s behavior would have horrified him.

    And before you blow me off as yet another mother who has no sense at all of her own son, I know he is far from perfect: money management is something totally foreign to him now; speeding and racing in the classic BMW he restored himself has gotten him into legal trouble, sometimes he’s very open and communicative and sometimes he’s not; in certain family areas he shows great responsibility; in others, none at all. He is, after all, 22.

    But I do know that he understands that civility is an important character attribute. Seems that fewer and fewer do.

    • Comment of the Day. I’m backed up…one on the runway already.

      • Other Bill

        Good for you E2. Congratulations. My mother would be proud of you. Don’t worry, your son will survive his youth and prosper.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      I’m more than twice his age, and when I was 22 I was just as bad, and probably did all of those other things too – in fact I confess I did, joining other marching band members in raising hell when we traveled, raising some hell all on my own for no reason than I was drunk, giving crap as good as I got (and sometimes getting the upper hand), and occasionally bullying those lower down the ladder. I still remember giving Jeff, the class Eeyore, (who much later came out as gay), a fair amount of abuse in front of others, openly telling him that if he wanted me to stop he could make me, hoping to goad him into losing it so I could beat his ass, until another Jeff, who was sort of the class warrior-scholar (Marine officer and later college professor), who I respected, told me to lay off. You didn’t want to be present for my class’s senior banquet, where a seating dispute turned really ugly and almost led to a dozen guys and gals brawling before any of us touched a drop of alcohol.

      Eventually we all grew out of it, I think, although I later heard accounts of our 20th reunion with the same idiots puking their guts out at 3AM at 42 who did it at 21. They were back in the same place where every weekend involved getting drunk, getting as much sex as you could get, and possibly academics in between, so they reverted. Chaos and indulgence were the order of the day. Civility? What’s that?

      All too often lack of civility is rewarded or just brushed off rather than punished. It should come as no surprise that it is now in short supply when you’re more likely to get your way by bullying and intimidating than by persuading, and where you are more likely to be popular if you are a joke and “nice guys finish last.”

      • Wayne

        I really wish that the draft would be reinstated. It’s really hard to be a special snowflake when a drill sargent is chewing your ass off.

        • “YOU WANT A SAFE SPACE? Listen you little chikin-sheet maggot, the only ‘safe space’ is my boot up your a$$…”

          My drill sergeant just spoke out loud in my head…

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