Friday, November 21, 2008

Winner Take All?

The Politicker is reporting that State Senator George Winner believes that the defections of two or three rebel Dems can lead to what he calls a "fusion" government: " "A fusion" scenario would exist if two elected Democrats kept their party enrollment, but crossed lines to vote for Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Skelos was re-elected unanimously as his conference leader earlier this week, but the official vote on who controls the whole chamber comes after new members are seated in January. "I know that that interest on our side in looking at a fusion-type of government is certainly there," Winner said."

Well, duh! Of course the Republicans, who are two slices short of a loaf, would welcome a fusion that allowed them to maintain their majority; but the rebels may have other ideas. As Liz B reports, Senator Kruger ain't showing love to either side: "I don't approve of the way Skelos handled himself or Malcolm," the senator continued. "Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, he comes to the table with a lifetime of experience...In this particular case, if he saw the Senate was dysfunctional, then the Assembly could have passed a bill and thrown it at the Senate. "Waiting for Dean Skelos and Malcolm Smith to strip to the waist and duel on State Street is not the way of governing."

And the NY Times agrees with the Skelos assessment: "Before Mr. Paterson and the legislative leaders could hammer out the final details, the Senate’s Republican leader, Dean Skelos, announced with great fanfare and unbelievable cynicism that he was prepared, then and there, to call for a vote on the governor’s draft plan. In raw, unmediated form, that plan was sure to lose. The governor had no choice but to cancel the proceedings and send everyone home. The Republicans’ strategy is obviously to defer all the tough choices until next year when the Democrats will be running the whole show: the governor’s office, the Assembly and, at long last, the Senate. But while tactically shrewd in a narrow political sense, Mr. Skelos’s approach is fiscally irresponsible."

We're not gonna wait for the Times to ever become ecumenical enough to mention the fact that some of the Democrats were also being both cynical and pusillanimous. We didn't here a peep from Speaker Silver; you know, something to show some heart to the governor.

So it appears that the recalcitrant donkeys aren't eager to pledge their fealty to either side; and the longer the wait goes on, the better looking these Dems do get. And if Malcolm in the Middle is waiting for Frank Padavan to crater, he just might be waiting until the twelfth of never. As Spin Zone tells us: "Democrats are complaining about the conduct of the recount in Queens, where Democrat Jim Gennaro trails incumbent Republican Sen. Frank Padavan by 500 votes.
Typically, that's a leading indicator that Democrats don't think Gennaro is going to pull it out. Not always, but typically."

Still, the Times recycles the race canard this morning-in the form of Hypocrite-in-Chief Michael Reich: "They are challenging ballots based on a technicality that had never been enforced in the past,” said Michael H. Reich, the executive secretary of the Queens Democratic Party and one of the lawyers overseeing the counting. “But they are only doing it to Democratic voters and voters with names that they assume are African-American, Latino or Asian. They’re not doing it with voters they presume are white. I am outraged by this.”

Sure he is. This is the same First Reich that spent the last few years doing everything in his power to keep the first Hispanic from Queens, Hiram Monserrate, from going to the state senate. He should shelve his faux outrage for a gullible jury. As the Times points out: "For the time being, the disputed ballots are placed in a cardboard box on the floor of the meeting room, and a judge will eventually rule on their validity. As the pile grows, so does the anticipation among Democratic and Republican leaders throughout the state."

Back to the rebels, Senator Kruger's complaint revolves around what he perceives is the lack of any clear philosophical direction by either of the putative senate leaders; a meandering that could lead the state into disaster: "Kruger rather ominously predicted that if the state continues down this path, it could eventually find itself no longer under the control of its own destiny and under the thumb of a higher power - perhaps a monitor or emergency control board that forces spending cuts and doesn't care which special interest contributed cash to your campaign account."

It's time for the senate to come up with leadership that addresses the need to cut the size and scope of government. Our favorite wacko, Supervisor Paul Finer of Greenburgh, wants to cut the county government out entirely. As Politicker indicates, citing Finer: "There may not be will among a lot of politicians right now, but as the economy worsens and taxes keep going up and up, we have to look at ways of really running a government to reduce costs. And eliminating a layer of government could do that," he said this morning."

The need for consolidation must be taken seriously-for school districts as well as layers of government. So far we haven't seen anyone really ready to think out of the narrow box of big government orthodoxy; but the current budget mess just might stimulate a willingness to leave old, stale shibboleths behind.