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Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., third ranking in the Senate Democratic leadership, speaks on his cell phone following a closed-door caucus discussing how to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts that could kick in Jan. 1., at the Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) He's listening.

the national interest

Iowa Republican Has Good News for Chuck Schumer

The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition gathered in Cedar Rapids Monday night to hear from the three Republican candidates for the Senate nomination. The candidates had trouble differentiating themselves ideologically, as all hewed faithfully to the right-wing line, until David Young promised that "as a Senator, he would invite New York Senator Chuck Schumer to lunch so that he could share the good news of Jesus Christ."

That is certainly a shrewd approach to coalition-building. Why bang your head against the wall trying to convert opposing senators to your ideology when you can just convert them to your religion instead?

It's not clear, however, why Young picked Schumer as his conversion topic. Possibly he is not aware that there are many other Jews in the Senate. (Someone should share the good news — or perhaps from Young's perspective, the bad news.)

What's more, if you're looking for Jews to win over, isn't Schumer a pretty heavy lift? He is probably the Jew-iest one of the bunch. Also, as a senator from New York, he has the least to gain politically from a high-profile repudiation of the Jewish faith and conversion to evangelical Christianity. Schumer is also a really good negotiator, and Young could walk out of the room having agreed to become a Jew.

It seems like Young would be better trying, say, Michael Bennet, who's from Colorado and has a Gentile-sounding name. Or Ron Wyden, who is both from Oregon and really enthusiastic about bipartisanship. You could see Wyden going for a deal where he embraces Jesus Christ, and Young, in return, signs on to his tax-reform plan.

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Photo: J. Scott Applewhite