New York's Charles Schumer, boss of the Democrat minority in the Senate, is clearly under great stress, allegedly having screamed at a woman in a New York restaurant.
But, hey, stress happens, especially when you start a partisan thermonuclear political war to kill the confirmation of a respected jurist like Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
And all you have in your pockets is your charm.
Schumer erupted the other evening when he reportedly made a huge public scene at the Sette Mezzo restaurant, shouting at a well-known New York couple because the wife supported President Donald Trump.
"She voted for Trump!" Schumer is said to have yelled at Hilary Califano. "He's a liar! He's a liar!"
Hilary Califano is the wife of Democrat Joseph Califano, a former U.S. secretary of health, education and welfare who worked closely with Democratic Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter. And she's the daughter of William Paley, the late boss of CBS News.
"Schumer was really rude," Hilary Califano told the New York Post's "Page Six" column.
"He's our senator and I don't really like him," she was quoted as saying. "Yes, (I) voted for Trump. Schumer joined us outside and he told me Trump was a liar. I should have told him that Hillary Clinton was a liar, but I was so surprised I didn't say anything."
Hillary Clinton was a liar? Most politicians lie, Trump included, and Hillary Clinton lied about just about everything, from Benghazi to how she had to run from sniper fire in Bosnia to that homebrew email server of hers, which she could have cleaned, "like, with a cloth," and on and on.
A spokesman for Screaming Schumer insisted there was no "heated exchange" with the Califanos.
I don't usually like to take sides in restaurant arguments, but I'm going to have to go with Hilary Califano's Screaming Schumer version.
All she was trying to do was have a quiet Italian dinner with her husband. Linguine and clams are only $28.50 on the menu. Or, perhaps they had the veal. I don't know.
But it's obvious that Schumer seems more pinched and stressed than he's ever been. And he should be, because if the "nuclear option" — an override of Senate rule or precedent by simple majority rather than 60 votes — comes to the U.S. Senate over Gorsuch, Schumer would be to blame.
Even before Gorsuch was nominated, Schumer made it clear that Democrats would try do everything they can to stop the Trump nominee on partisan grounds.
And just the other day Schumer threatened to filibuster the Gorsuch vote.
"If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes — a bar met by each of President (Barack) Obama's nominees and George Bush's last two nominees — the answer isn't to change the rules," Schumer said. "It's to change the nominee."
Sometimes politicians don't come out and lie. Sometimes they hold back part of the truth. And Schumer knows that the Democrats changed the rules a few years ago. That's where the nuclear option comes in.
For decades, the tradition in the Senate was that for any nomination to a post for life — like a federal, appellate or Supreme Court justice — 60 votes were required to ensure consensus.
But bipartisan consensus went out the window years ago, when Senate Democrats, led by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy — the self-professed protector of women and famed swimmer of Chappaquiddick — savaged the Supreme Court nomination of conservative Robert Bork.
Bork had the far superior intellect. Kennedy had the louder mouth. Then, like now, the Beltway media elites were in thrall to the Democrats, and Bork was destroyed.
In 2013, Democrats had the Senate majority but couldn't come up with 60 votes for the confirmation of liberal federal judges whom Obama wanted on the bench.
Republicans were blocking those nominations, much like Democrats are now blocking the nomination of Gorsuch.
Schumer's predecessor, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, changed the rules to require that only a simple majority of 51 senators — not 60 — was required to cement a lifetime appointment to federal and appellate courts.
So the Democrats stuffed the federal courts with liberal jurists who would legislate from the bench. And Democrats didn't think that was unfair, did they?
That's because Democratic politicians understand power and leverage, having built careers by using the force of government to compel behavior. They understand the use of force. And so, it was done.
Yet now, Democrats are worried that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky would use the nuclear option to push the Gorsuch nomination through with only 51 votes. Republicans have 52.
There were many reasons for Republicans to have voted for or against Donald Trump for president. But there was one reason that bound them all: He promised to nominate a stellar conservative to the Supreme Court to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
Gorsuch is that stellar jurist, a man who had the audacity to say during his recent confirmation hearings, "My job isn't to write the law, Senator, it's to apply the law."
There is no reason to block him except for partisanship's sake. So Democrats give the Republicans no choice but to use the nuclear option.
You've heard that proverb, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander? I love Italian food and married a lovely Sicilian and have eaten many a fine Italian meal, but I've never had a plate of gander.
And I'd bet Sen. Schumer never had gander at Sette Mezzo, where he yelled at Hilary Califano.
Put some sauce on that. And enjoy.
John Kass has covered a variety of topics since arriving at the Chicago Tribune in 1983. Kass has received several awards for commentary and journalism, from organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Press Club of Atlantic City, the Chicago Headline Club's Lisagor Award for best daily newspaper columnist. In 1992, Kass won the Chicago Tribune's Beck Award for writing. to readmore of his reports, Click Here Now.