Sitting target: Schumer blasts Madoff with elephant gun


MSNBC captured Schumer’s spiel today about the Madoff scandal.

Today’s Senate Banking Committee hearing on the Bernie Madoff scandal was a perfect chance for pols to grab at the golden ring of video clips, and it looks as if the winner was…New York’s own Chuck Schumer!

If you missed the dog-and-pony show, you didn’t miss much new in the way of news. But the New York Times live-blogged it and noted Schumer’s shtick:

10:27 a.m.: Elephant in the room: Senator Charles E. Schumer calls the fraud “a punch in the gut” to the financial system and castigates the S.E.C. for its failure to uncover the scheme. He likens the actions to a giant elephant standing in a small room next to the S.E.C. for decades and “not only did they not see the elephant, they didn’t even smell the peanuts on his breath,” Mr. Schumer says.

Pretty good, Chuck, but what about the taste of Madoff in your own mouth?

Madoff and his family have given tens of thousands of dollars to Schumer’s election campaigns, according to Federal Election Commission records, but I guess those small amounts weren’t enough to prompt him to conduct due diligence on Madoff.

You have to wonder, though, how Schumer couldn’t have known, or at least suspected, that Madoff was a goniff. After all, Schumer has deep, deep ties in the city’s Jewish establishment. The state’s senior senator probably knows a goodly number of Madoff’s investors by name, and Madoff, as we know, was a staunch Democratic Party fundraiser during the very time that Schumer has controlled a large part of the party’s campaign treasure chest.

But today’s hearing gave Schumer a chance to tsk-tsk, and he ran-ran with it.

Aside from Dick Cheney‘s hunting partners, has there ever been an easier target to hit than Bernie Madoff?

But if you really want to see how it’s done, check out Marie Brenner‘s web-only piece on Vanity Fair.

An elegant piece of writing, “Madoff in Manhattan” peers deep inside what the mag calls the “thorny issues of class and religion.”