Why Is Chuck Schumer doing Grover Norquist's dirty work for him?

Schumer, Grover and John Galt

by digby

Why is Chuck Schumer doing Grover Norquist's dirty work for him by trying to sabotage the card swipe legislation in the financial reform conference?

This is one of the most obvious populist, consumer friendly pieces of the financial reform bill, such a political winner for both individuals and small business owners that it's shocking that anyone would oppose it, much less a member of the Democratic Party leadership. It's a perfect example of why the rank and file of the Democratic Party is about to explode with frustration. They can't even defy the banks on this?

I don't know why Schumer is taking this bizarre position, but I'm guessing it has something to do with this, don't you?

New York’s Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is the leading recipient among the Senate conferees with $16.7 million in contributions over his career. Schumer has long been an ally of the New York-based financial industry, but has been remarkably quiet as Congress has focused on reforming Wall Street. Schumer remains in support of the bill despite hometown pressure from industry friends, campaign contributors and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

His support for the financial reform bill goes against a long history of supporting deregulatory actions for Wall Street. In the late 1990s and 2000 Schumer enthusiastically supported measures that ended the Glass-Steagall separation between commercial and investment banks and the enforced deregulation of derivatives trading.

Of course he did everything in his power to water down the financial reforms too, especially this legislation designed to relieve small businesses from shouldering the burden of the Big Bank's fat cat bonuses with these ridiculous card swipe fees. When that didn't work, he simply went behind closed doors to finish the job in conference.

As Howie wrote over on Down With Tyranny:

This is an issue that pits Main Street businesses like restaurants and cabbies and hardware stores against the Big Banks. It will be interesting to see which senators and congressmen stand with Main Street and consumers and which-- like Wasserman Schultz and Schumer-- fight for the Big Banks.

It's pretty clear that when it comes to fighting for average people against the big banks, whether represented by consumer groups, unions or small businesses, Chuck Schumer is on the wrong side. It's important that the rest of the Democratic conferees shut him down.

The Republicans will be happy to take up the cause of the small businessmen again once the Democrats do their dirty work for them on this one. And frankly, the small business people will have no reason to believe the Democrats give a damn about their problems, so they'll settle for the GOP agenda of low taxes and every man for himself. That's pretty much all they can count on from the political class.