Carl and the Passions: So Tough
In recognition of the recent departure from the ranks of the Doghouse Democrats (Pedro Espada, Carl Kruger and Ruben Diaz) of Senator-Elect Hiram Monserrate, I’ve marked them down from “The Four Horsemen of the Preposterous," and renamed them "Carl and the Passions" (in memory of what is arguably the worst album ever issued by the Beach Boys while they were still trying). When it comes to loyalty to their political party, the theme song of the Passions is not “Be True to Your School,” but rather “I Get Around.”
I hold no particular brief for Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith, and can rattle off the names of several members I think would make a better Party Leader, but, for whatever reasons, Smith was the choice of his Conference by an overwhelming margin, and therefore, he deserves the support of all Senate Democrats when the Senate organizes in January.
The Passions have other ideas.
The saddest thing about the Passions’ self aggrandizing efforts to make the future direction of the New York State Senate about them (and them alone) is that their dragging in the issue of gay marriage may have actually elevated the debate (although at the same time sinking it to a new low).
"Nationally", says the Passions’ PR Strumpet, Juda Engelmayer, (who should really stick to making bagels), "we are experiencing, in the face of uncertainty, a unique moment of both hope and opportunity. Now is the time to return to our core values."
As I’ve noted before, this is not about, in Espada’s words, bringing an end to the "dysfunctionality and polarization" in Albany; it is about creating dysfunctionality and polarization, and then exploiting them for personal and political gain.
Then, it stopped being about ideology at all, but about competence, "That’s not necessarily who’s on the right or left; it’s who best can do the job," announced Kruger. And then, without even acknowledging the contradiction, the elevation of merit above all things magically transformed into an elevation of heritage above all things. "Hispanic Empowerment is the guiding factor," said Kruger; this seemed quite odd, coming, as it did, from someone who may represent the outer-Boroughs’ least Latino constituency, and previously had as much use for affirmative action as he had for a comb.
Does Carl now have to change his nickname from "Mengele" to "Torquemada"?
It takes thirty-two votes to elect a Leader of the Senate--currently, The Passions hold the balance of power between the parties; in 1965 those playing a similar game tied up the Senate for five weeks before eventually winning with Republican support.
But, this is not really about putting in Joe Serrano or Marty Dilan, anymore than it is about putting in Jeff Klein, Dean Skelos or Tom Libous; nor is it about keeping Malcolm Smith out. This is about being the ones who decide. And while there is probably a hierarchy of preference among each of the Passions (or even the possibility that they may share the same hierarchy), which may place a particular Latino in first place, I suspect that any of the aforementioned names--even Smith, or a player yet to be named (whatever the ethnicity), would suffice, for the right price.
As such, I owe The Passions an apology for previously implying that they were Republican shills; in the last few days it has become clear that The Passions are using and abusing the Republicans in exactly the same manner in which they are using and abusing the Democrats. In the end, on the matter of Red versus Blue, the majority of The Passions know no color but Green.
But since (pending recounts), the Passions cannot deliver the leadership to any candidate without Ruben’s cooperation, his priorities have become their priorities. Thus, when Ruben said that a promise not to bring same sex marriage to the Senate floor was part of his price, the others were forced to join his crusade.
His co-conspirators do not share Ruben’s enthusiasm.
Former Passion Hiram Monserrate represents a district with a large gay constituency–could this have been one of the reasons he left the group?
Pedro Espada, who’s long palled around with "Doctor" Fred Newman, a "therapist" who gleefully admits to sleeping with his patients, has forfeited his right to moral outrage about something so boring and conservative as expanding the right to matrimony, and indeed, Espada has long favored same sex marriage.
As with any issue, Carl Kruger is probably most interested in cost-benefit analysis, which, in this case, means ascertaining whether the funds he could raise from gay groups would offset any losses from his Orthodox Jewish contributors--although one gets the feeling that, all things being equal, Carl would just as soon change the subject.
Whatever I may think of that decision, it is not facially unreasonable, and many good people who support same sex marriage agreed with the Court’s logic. Some (even on “The Daily Gotham”) also argued that society, and the LGBT community, was ultimately better served by this decision being made through the legislative process.
Fine; in response, the LGTB community effectively organized and sold the State Assembly on same sex marriage, even getting the votes of a few Republicans. Many believe that if this bill is let on the Senate floor, something the Republicans have so far prevented, it will pass, even with the opposition of some Democrats, because enough Republicans will support it. Perhaps they are right; perhaps not.
But, now, Kruger, Espada and Diaz have promised that they will gum up the organization of the Senate unless, among others things, they are given a promise that a law to give state recognition to same sex marriages will not be allowed to come to the floor.
So, the Court of Appeals says "leave us alone, go to the Legislature," but Kruger, Espada and Diaz say, "You can’t do that, because even if you have the votes, we won’t let it come to the floor."
But, at least Ruben Diaz is acting out of a sincere but misguided belief in a wrathful God.
By contrast, since he forsook Fred Newman, it is doubtful that Pedro Espada believes in any deity, let alone the God of Wrath.
And , Carl Kruger, though embracing Wrath as an organizing principle (as he does unto others before they do unto him), is impressed only with superior beings he can see with own eyes, and even then, knows that even a County Leader (who he must sometime present with burnt offerings) is not truly omniscient.
Devout Christians ask, WWDJ--What Would Jesus Do?
Carl, why not ask WWTD---What Would Tony Do?
He’d say: “Carl, be a fucking mensch!”
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