Way back, when he was just another junior Dem congressman from NY, the standing joke among those who covered the Hill was that the most dangerous place to be in DC was between Chuck Schumer and a TV camera.

Well, that strategy has surely payed off for Schumer, helping elevate him to a key Senate leadership spot in the Democrat caucus, and a major player on the national scene.

Curiously, in this presidential election year, when politics dominates almost everything, Schumer has been oddly silent for the most part, and near absent from the national airwaves and media these last few months.

While some may say we should be grateful for the blessed silence, and not look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, whenever Chuck is involved, it’s hard NOT to search for the underlying rationale.

While right now the presidential contest is viewed as a dead heat, Mitt does appeare to have momentum, and the trends do favor him. On the Hill, it’s a totally different matter.

The GOP will keep control of the House, and may even slightly increase its majority. Would Nancy Pelosi dare to run again? Yes, she’s insane, ( and about due now to make her prediction that she will be the next Speaker of The House) but while the caucus is divided on her, they all adore her fundraising prowress, and may actually implore her to stay on as leader, in part to avoid a brawl between different segments of the House Dem caucus.

Steny Hoyer feels it is his time, but he is just, well, bland, and the Dem caucus has now moved much further to his left. Chris van Hollen has often taken on the roll of national spokeman, but I suspect that he won’t want the job…and would rather position himself for the senate in 2016 when Mikulski finally retires. This might induce a rising star, Xavier Becerra, to enter the race…especially so as the Dems are counting heavily on the Latino vote in the future.

But would the Black Caucus ( which will be the single largest block in the Dem Caucus) go along with this, or feel that it is long past due for one of their own, like James Clyburn.

It won’t be pretty, howver it turns out. Pelosi may well be the best of a lousy lot for the Dems, but she’ll be great for the GOP if she stays on as minority leader.

Which returns us t o the Senate. It is gone for the Dems. Even with the Akin fiasco now unfolding in Missouri, the only question is how large a majority will the GOP have. And more importantly, the next GOP senate caucus will be far more conservative.

Reid will not run for minority leader. He’s a terrible face for the party, a tired old man, a hack. They will tell him he has to go back home to Searchlight. Reid’s wife, sadly, is quite ill, so the face-saving excuse of the “need to care for his wife won’t allow him to serve a leader of the Senate Democrats” will be used.

I’ll predict further that rather than just remain in the minority, early on in 2013, with the GOP having a several seat majority in the Senate, Reid will retire (again, supposedly, to care for his wife) as it won’t make a difference when Nevada’s GOP Governor Sandoval appoints a Republican to the seat. ( Then Reid can take a big $$$ positon on K street.)

So the stage is set, for a steel cage match in the Senate Democrat caucus, between Schumer and Durbin. And I suspect that’s what Schumer is busy doing now, lining up the needed votes, helping certain senators raise $$, and reminding them the he, as chair of the DSCC was the one who won them the majority back when. I wouldn’t bet against him.

And should Obama lose. then the entire Illinois machine will be discredited ( and that means Durbin) and Schumer will be a lock for minority leader.

And that will make him the single most important Democrat in Congress. The only one who can try to control the evil GOP Congress…and a key national spokesman for the party. The MAN.

Schumer’s absence from the national campaign…beyond giving lip service to Oabama’s re-election, suggests that he has already read the tea leaves, and assumes that Obama will lose.

And with an Obama loss, as sure as the sun comes up, the next day will see the start of the Hillary 2016 campaign. She’s not a sure thing..she’s older, looks more tired every day, and the Dems may want a fresher face. But Schumer may decide to go all in with Hillary early on, or…. or….withhold support and try to be the ultimate party kingmaker.

One’s things f’sure..after election day expect to see much more of Schumer’s image in the MSM. ( Sigh)

In he meantime, Chuck is busy devoting his considerable efforst to see that NY bottled water is offered at the inauguration…so some such rot.