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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Status Quo

As I mentioned by way of explanation in the comments section for those who may not be familiar, in normal times, the Senate Majority Leader and the President pro-tem are one and the same person. It's only because of the split of duties that resulted after the dust cleared after the end of the attempted Republican coup that there would be any question now as to who will decide on behalf of that body who will operate the racino at Aqueduct. Bennett Liebman says that it's the president pro-tem and that's good enough for me.

And since Senator Malcolm Smith, still somehow hanging on to power after being virtually written off in the wake of the coup, currently holds that title (reportedly for a limited time only, the length of which we don't exactly know), that's actually a rare bit of good news in the racino epic. At least Senator Smith is presumably tuned in to the process and won't have to start completely from scratch. Besides the fact that the involvement of the erratic and scandal-tinged Espada would have added an element of unpredictability to the proceedings that we certainly don't need.

It would be sad to conclude that the gridlock that crippled the legislature for more than four weeks was entirely due to Espada's quest to gain power, but it's hard to disregard that notion after his flip-flop-flip which has left him as Majority Leader. His calls for reform were never credible given his checkered background; and less so after a steady stream of assertions throughout the crisis which never came to pass, such as his various claims that anywhere from four or five to 20 Democrats were ready to flip. To be objective, the Democrats are no less hypocritical than the Republicans in taking this guy back and giving him the plum position, complete with extra compensation, that was his goal.

The Democrats have promised that they will tackle the matter of reform in the Senate when they reconvene on Wednesday; but will they really? Republicans already have accused them of reneging on a promise to institute the new rules on Thursday night. And Senator Smith came into his office speaking of reform, but didn't follow through. Tom Golisano, the billionaire said to be behind the coup claims that Espada will flip back to the GOP if there's no reform (oh, man..). But do you really think that Espada, having achieved his coveted goal of becoming the first Latino Majority Leader, is going to give up that post?

Jimmy Vielkind reported on that Minority Leader Dean Skelos' status in that post is secure. But shouldn't that judgment wait until after we see if reform is instituted or not? Skelos, whose party reached new levels of hypocrisy with its sudden interest in sharing resources with the minority party, had the Democrats over the barrel, and had power sharing deals on the table. But he stuck to the mantra of "June 8 counts," and as of right now, he has zip.


Anonymous said...

How can Espada figure to be re-elected? Do all you fools downstate vote Democrat no matter what.....or what?

Anonymous said...

Smith's a Queens guy isn't he? He'll take a lead role on the Aqueduct deal, I would imagine.