commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

Sen. Menendez is no Sen. Schumer…….

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill.

[Some Democrats wonder if Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-N.J.) lower-octane management style fits the desperate times.]

In January, with White House officials privately slamming Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez for bungling away Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, Chuck Schumer rose to his colleague’s defense during a closed-door Democratic lunch.

“Bob Menendez is running the DSCC during a very difficult time a more difficult time than when I was running it,” Schumer told the shell-shocked Democratic caucus, according to a person in the room. “We all ought to get behind him and realize it’s not 2006 or 2008.”

That Schumer felt compelled to take the extraordinary step of defending his successor showed just how fast Menendez’s stock has fallen following a series of devastating setbacks, culminating with this week’s surprise retirement announcement by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.).

It also represented Schumer’s recognition that many in the party have been unfavorably comparing Menendez’s tenure to his own two successful terms at the helm of the DSCC, which resulted in a historic net gain of 14 Democratic seats.

“Chuck – wow – he would call all the time, three, four times a week when he needed something, but I don’t ever hear from Menendez unless I initiate the contact,” said a Washington-based donor who has bundled tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to the committee.

“You just don’t have the same level of energy from Bob, he just doesn’t push you like Chuck would,” the source added.

“And that makes it a lot easier to say no.”

Many donors are still saying yes, of course. DSCC officials tell POLITICO that the loss of the Massachusetts race hasn’t hurt fundraising, and the committee had its best January ever, raking in $5.1 million. The committee now has $12.9 million in cash in the bank, despite spending at least $2.5 million in the unsuccessful attempt to hang on to Kennedy’s old seat.

And no one claims Menendez is entirely to blame for Martha Coakley’s humiliating defeat in Massachusetts, the retirements of Bayh and North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan and Beau Biden’s decision to skip the Delaware Senate race. They cite any number of external factors that have dimmed the party’s prospects: the tanking popularity of President Barack Obama and his policies, the inevitability of Democratic letdown after four years of historic successes and, above all, the lousy economy.


The Democrats are in a natural downswing….battered by a rookie President’s mistakes and inattention….a slowly recovering economy and a need for more jobs……this is odd time to be Menendez’s shoe’s…..But it will be normal to yearn for the Schumer touch in Democratic Senate circles………

Schumer has his eyes on a bigger prize…but Menedez needs to do his part for Schumer to succeed…

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Government, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , , | 4 Comments