Politico has an interesting piece about a hunting trip Senator Schumer took with Senator Ben Nelson in Nebraska last month. They note that the trip went surprisingly well, given how poorly political hunting trips can turn out for Democrats (and Republicans, too).
When we heard that the Brooklyn Democrat who once shepherded the Brady Bill through the House was hunting for pheasant and skeet, we thought it just an attempt to get people’s minds off certain language he’d recently used. Politico thinks it was a last-minute ploy to win over the moderate Nelson on the health care vote.
If it was a ploy, it was a forward-looking one, as the trip happened back on November 8th, well ahead of an actual vote. But Schumer probably already knew he and his fellow health-care crew members were going to have to do a lot to win over the anti-abortion, conservative Nebraska Democrat.
Both Senators deny any health care lobbying took place, and describe the trip as just a senatorial bromance set in the mancave that is the state of Nebraska; “Just two guys having fun and going hunting and watching football,” Nelson called it
Still, even if it has meant donning safety orange, it looks like Schumer has helped Harry Reid get to 60 votes. (The Post angrily portrays the perks Nelson received in return for his vote as Kirsten Gillibrand’s betrayal of New York, somehow.) The senate is expected to vote on and pass their version of health care legislation at 8:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve.
Some gun advocates are still shocked to see Schumer kill birds to reform healthcare. Politico quotes Tom King, the president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, as saying the “patently anti-gun” Schumer “must have needed Nelson’s vote very badly” to go hunting with him.