It is now the ninth day of Albany’s Time of Troubles and we’ve entered the game show phase.
Democrats have put forth a power-sharing agreement, while Republicans are insisting on the bigger share. If they do not decide who is in charge among themselves, a judge may decide it for them.
Democrats are saying “Let’s Make a Deal,” while Republican respond, “Monty, I’d rather see what’s behind door number three.”
The big surprise here is the unexpected willingness of the Democratic Conference, including Leader in Name Only Malcolm Smith, to behave like grown-ups. Looking back, historians may find this to be the one silver lining to this dark cloud reigning forth on our Capitol.
Tom Friedman: The Times’s Robert Mackey reported that in Tehran “chants of ‘Death to America’ ” at rallies for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week were answered by chants of “Death to the Taliban — in Kabul and Tehran” at a rally for his opponent, Mir Hussein Moussavi.
Encouraging, yes. And to some extent, a message to the skeptics (myself, to some extent, included) that the Cairo speech, warts and all, may pay real dividends.
This week in Time, another Peter Beinart Democrat (Peter Beinart), also expressed his approval of the new direction in Mid East politics (which, in regard to Israeli settlements, isn‘t really new--it‘s been the same since 1967).
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (About Childish Behavior, but not to be Confused with the Children's Story)
As was once again proven this week, there is nothing more destructive to the New York State political process than a billionaire scorned. In fact, this may be the single best argument for Mike Bloomberg’s re-election.
In 1989, for reasons too petty to be worth discussing, Al D’Amato filled his billionaire buddy Ron Lauder’s head full of visions of dancing sugarplums, and convinced him to run for Mayor, the better to sabotage the hopes of his former protégé, Rudy Giuliani, who had shown him insufficiently gratitude and fealty.
Lauder, not realizing his own campaign was a sick joke, got his clocked cleaned, and went into shock. Finally realizing his political career was dead, Lauder undertook Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief, but never got beyond anger, which he decided to visit upon the entire New York City political establishment, by finally hiring some competent people and putting on the ballot and passing an initiative instituting term limits for City offices, thereby putting an end date to Rudy’s term in public office before it had even started.
In a piece I posted yesterday, I outlined the sad facts of life for the State Senate Democrats, as well as for all New Yorkers, who are facing the prospect of Pedro Espada one heartbeat away from the Governorship.
Efforts for the Democrats to hang onto the 32 votes needed to pass legislation in the State Senate appear to be doomed. At best, the Democrats still have a shot at winning back the vote of Hiram Monserrate. If the Democrats can both win back Monserrate, and obtain a ruling voiding Monday’s vote changing the Senate Leadership, then the leadership of the Senate, and the concomitant control over office space, lulus, leadership positions and other internal resources will remain in their hands, although, without 32 votes, they will still lose their power to pass legislation.
Paul Newell thinks the only sane person in Albany may be Sheldon Silver. And this frightens him.
On his Facebook Page 6/9/09
On 10/22/2007 I posted a piece called The Joe Bruno Democrats, for which I took a lot of abuse at the time. In part, I made the following observations, which were adapted from remarks I first posted in a thread on another blog back in May 2007:
The Senate Republican majority is doomed in the long-term unless they find a way to corral some non-Republicans into either switching parties or voting with them to organize. This has now been their long-range strategy for many years. They find "Democrats In Name Only" and run them in prohibitively Democratic districts, so they can hold them in reserve in case the Dems ever take the majority.
In my two previous pieces detailing the intrigues afoot in the New York State Senate, I was puzzled by the vehemence of the State Senate Democrats in mindlessly and repeatedly chanting their mantra insisting that the Republican attempt to stage a coup had failed, because the vote had been illegal.
What if it were true? Unless one could manage to come up with 32 votes, the Republicans would eventually take over anyway.
As the great sportswriter Jimmy Cannon used to say, nobody asked me but…Immediately after posting my piece yesterday concerning the antics of Pedro “The Mamaroneck Bomber” Espada and Hiram "The Sultan of Swat Monserrate", collectively known as "The Aztec Two-Step", I was besieged with email, most of which came from Republicans calling me an anti-Latino bigot, and the balance of which came from fellow Democrats, telling me I was “not being helpful.”
There was a Party Line, and the Party Line was that this was a “Failed-Attempted-Coup.“
Well, despite the best efforts of Malcolm Smith to bring about Republican control of the State Senate sooner, it took Republican an entire six months to get the deed done, courtesy of their signing the team of Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate, who shall from now on be referred to in this department as the “Aztec Two-Step.”
It was an astonishing display of "Brown Power." Indeed, when it comes to role models in leading a legislature, each Party Leader in the NYS Senate has a Brown as his avatar. In Dean Skelos' case, it is Willie (who pulled off the same maneuver in California only about a dozen or so times), in Malcolm's case, Gordon.
The Gate/Domestic Partner clan solemnly remembered Memorial Day by helping six-year old Dybbuk construct a diorama memorializing his early childhood walk to the Kane Street Synagogue pre-school, and then drinking far too much at a barbeque attended mostly by natives and foreign stock from Poland, Israel, Sweden, Japan, Korea and Arizona, thrown by the family of Dybbuk‘s fiancé (yes, it is an arranged marriage; Dybbuk arranged it himself.
Independent Neighborhood Democrats (IND), the local political Club in my area, is currently forming a circular firing squad as it puts itself into civil war footing. At the center of the war is a gregarious but somewhat annoying man I’ve rarely found common cause with who has sometimes behaved despicably, and yet, I find myself feeling that he’s being treated unfairly.
I’m talking about the self-proclaimed Mayor of Carroll Gardens, the Merry Mortician himself, one Salvatore “Buddy” Scotto.Yesterday, a writer at Daily Gotham who I regard as an ally in this battle made a comment about Buddy which compared him and his followers to the Soprano Family.
Does Mole333 even know that Buddy Scotto stood up against organized crime in Carroll Gardens at a time when doing so was an invitation to a premature funeral (which probably would have been the first mob-related funeral in the Scotto firm’s history--the Wise Guys mostly use Raccuglia, sometimes Cusimano or Guido, but never Scotto), and that Buddy has had, at least once, to go into exile for his efforts?
OBAMA (5/17/09): What bothered the doctor was an entry that my campaign staff had posted on my website -- an entry that said I would fight "right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman's right to choose." The doctor said he had assumed I was a reasonable person, he supported my policy initiatives to help the poor and to lift up our educational system, but that if I truly believed that every pro-life individual was simply an ideologue who wanted to inflict suffering on women, then I was not very reasonable. He wrote, "I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words." Fair-minded words.
Domestic Partner: I am getting tired of everyone asking what it is I could possibly see in Gatemouth. His athletic physique? His sweet disposition? His good manners and sense of fashion? His tolerance for the failings of others?
Since the answer is not immediately apparent, everyone jumps to the same conclusion, but sad to say, they are wrong; being one is not the same as having one.
But please, do not think that I am with Gatemouth because of a mental deficiency; there are other reasons as well. Though I may be appear to be a simple agrarian working on my second graduate degree, I assure you that I am not a country pumpkin; I am witty and irrelevant. Yes, English is not my first language, only my fifth, but do not underestimate me . While it is true that I am beautiful and stylish, I am also very smart. I do have my reasons, even if I’ve long ago forgotten them. Besides, Gatemouth is a person of unparalleled generosity--when he has an opinion, he always makes sure to share it with everyone.
“If I have to bring Carter with me -- to an event, to City Hall for an emergency session -- do I have to think twice about being accused of using him as a political prop, or do I decide to take whatever comes because I need to do what's best for my kid? Do I heed the advice of political consultants who tell me I should mention being a mother as much as possible? Having conceived through in vitro fertilization, do I answer personal questions from reporters who ask about Carter's parentage? Regardless of whether I answer or choose not to, I run the risk of having my answer become politicized.” --City Councilwoman Melinda Katz in the Huffington Post.
This year’s race for City Comptroller, like those held in the past, features a groups of candidates virtually no one cares about flailing about desperately for attention. Each of the Comptroller candidates has at least one notable quality which separates them from the rest.
TOM HAGEN: Senator Cauly apologized for not coming personally -- he said you'd understand.
-- The Consiglieri reporting (to the protagonist of Rudy Giuliani's favorite film) a dear friend's expedient absence from a wedding.
Congratulations are in order to Jon Cooper, the Majority Leader of the Legislature of Suffolk County, New York, upon his marriage in Connecticut to his longtime companion, Robert Cooper. Under normal circumstances, this would be the most interesting political story in the Style Section of this week’s Sunday New York Times, and certainly, it is the most interesting one which has come out of the closet. But this week’s Style Section also takes note of a another Connecticut same-sex wedding of two New Yorkers, the coverage of which fails to acknowledge the elephant in the room.