Defending “The Bailey’s” Right to Kung Pao Chicken and an SUV

schumer_iris.jpg
DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall and her husband Senator Charles Schumer enjoy a meal with The Bailey’s.

This week’s New Yorker has a Jeffrey Goldberg Talk of the Town piece about Senator Charles Schumer’s new book, Positively American: Winning Back the Middle-Class Majority One Family at a Time. Schumer’s protagonist is an imaginary, average middle-class American family called "The Baileys" who accompany the Senator wherever he goes and advise him "on all manner of middle-class concerns."

Schumer tells Goldberg that his imaginary constituents live in Massapequa, Long Island and are both forty-five years old. Joe works for an insurance company, Eileen is a part-time employee at a doctor’s office. The Bailey’s wouldn’t be the types to order chicken and steamed vegetables at Hunan Delight, Schumer says. They’d get the kung pao chicken.

And how would the Bailey’s get to Hunan Delight? Not in a Toyota Prius, that’s for sure…

Liberal élitism, [Schumer] said, as he stirred Sweet ‘N Low into his tea with a chopstick, alienates middle-income families from the Party. "Middle-class people don’t think everybody should have to drive a tiny little car to achieve improvement in global warming," he said. Invoking opponents of expanding the tuition tax credit to the middle class, he went on, "If we listened to the New York Times editorial board, we’d have twenty-one votes in the Senate."

Photo: New York Social Diary

  • Eric

    Joe Bailey don’t want no stinkin’ two-way, traffic-calmed, bike-, ped- and dog-friendly avenues running through Park Slope, either, I bet.

  • P

    Just embed the externalized costs into the price of the SUV and then let the Baileys decide. First, begin focing SUVs to adhere to the mileage standards that other passenger vehicles must (not more lenient truck regulations). Then enforce weight limits on our bridges. Make gas prices reflect the pollution and costs to the military necessary to protect the supply from around the world. Throw in an insurance premium for the costs of their rollovers and the fact that the size of their vehicle prevents other drivers from seeing the road as well.

    If the Baileys are still willing to drive an SUV after all this I probably won’t give them too much grief. Just don’t ask me to pay for their luxuries.

  • AD

    There is truth to Schumer’s comments. His job isn’t to save the planet, it’s to form majorities just big enough to win elections. To be successful in winning elected positions in the U.S. government under the way it is structured, a party need to be a “big tent” that appeals to many constituencies. At the same time, third party, issue-oriented parties tend not to be successful (in terms of winning elections).

  • David

    And yet, AD, one of the main reasons why the Democrats lost in both 2000 and 2004 may very well be because they shied away from the environment, energy policy and the whole list of issues related to the two.

    I actually think that average Americans are way more concerned with these issues than baby boomer generation politicians like Schumer will ever be able to understand.

    If US political leadership were connecting energy and environment to everyday issues like local traffic congestion and jobs disappearing overseas and conflict in the Middle East — well — you could build an entire party platform around that.

    Schumer’s really uninterested in ideas and policy though. He’s the party’s politics guy. That’s all he does.

  • Gizler

    Nice one Chuck. I guess that’s leadership these days. Don’t worry about what actually will have to be done to save the planet in “reality-land,” just worry about what Joe in Massapequa thinks should be done, based on willful ignorance and narrow self-interest. Because as we all know, when you refuse to acknowledge problems, they just go away.

  • bawler

    Let’s hope the Bailey’s at least want good public transporation, in addition to the big car they bought that flies in the face of those annoying liberal elites.

  • dan

    I’m pretty dang sure the Baileys don’t approve of our foreign adventures that Schumer and his partner Hillary were so ready to sign off on.
    New york is choking on traffic of all sorts yet Ms Schumer’s tenure at nydot was marked by an absence of any real attempt to get cars to pay their way. Maybe someday after it’s too late someone will realize that the suv-fueled addiction to oil works hand in hand with our foreign entanglements

  • dan

    I’m pretty dang sure the Baileys don’t approve of our foreign adventures that Schumer and his partner Hillary were so ready to sign off on.
    New york is choking on traffic of all sorts yet Ms Schumer’s tenure at nydot was marked by an absence of any real attempt to get cars to pay their way. Maybe someday after it’s too late someone will realize that the suv-fueled addiction to oil works hand in hand with our foreign entanglements.

  • brent

    Now that the Republican party is fading from the political scene, Schumer wants to be the first one to fill the populist vacuum and suck up those votes. Shameless.

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