Saturday, December 06, 2008

Malcolm in the Mierda?

Well it looks as if Malcolm Smith might have jumped right from the frying pan into the fire. It seems as if some of his Democratic senate colleagues aren't thrilled with the deal he struck with the Gang of Three, As the NY Daily News reports: "A number of angry Senate Democrats are predicting chaos after their leader "sold the store" to a group of three dissidents. "People are quite upset," said one senator, who asked for anonymity. "It sets a dangerous precedent where people can hold [Democratic chief Malcolm Smith] up for their vote."

Perhaps it is, but what does Mr. Anonymous suggest for an alternative-a Republican majority? Whatever one's feelings are about the deal, there are those short hairs to consider: "Sen.-elect Pedro Espada will be majority leader, while Sen. Carl Kruger, who led the insurrection, is expected to be named head of the powerful Finance Committee. "He blinked," one upset Democrat said of Smith. "He didn't have to do all this." Senate Democrats at a retreat this week called on Smith to close the talks down. "It's one thing giving [the dissidents] what they want and another to sell the store," one upset senator said."

Okay, so what's the alternative? Dump Smith after he and the governor basically signed off on the deal in tandem? That would lead to the demise of Malcolm, and in all likelihood, a total revamping pf the shape of the leadership-with Republicans gaining greater power and influence.

Which brings us straight to the Dail News' comic strips-now moved permanently to the paper's editorial page. It seems that the editorialists are upset with Malcolm's maneuvering, calling it a "slimy shuffle:" "State Senate Democratic leader Malcolm Smith, desperate for his party to secure majority control, has cut what could be one of the slimier deals ever to ooze out of the Legislature. In a quid pro quo meant to pacify three Democrats who threatened to switch parties, Smith reportedly has agreed to give the rabble-rousers high-ranking leadership posts - along with a promise to block action on a major piece of legislation."

Legislative horse trading in Albany? Much like gambling in Casablanca, it is truly shocking to the News' naifs. But then they go over the top with the following: "The amigos should be ashamed for demanding tribute. Smith should be ashamed for granting it. Now, rank-and-file Senate Democrats, who meet Saturday to chew over the plan, must ask themselves: What does it profit them to gain the majority but lose their souls?"

Searching for souls in Albany? Just who are the oxymorons writing this stuff-maybe St. Augustine has been hired by the paper; and should we now allow the editorial writers to choose our leaders? The bottom line here, is that Malcolm Smith needs to hold this all together-or else the entire fiasco goes back into chaos.

As the NY Times indicates, that might just be what will happen: "Some Democratic officials said privately on Friday that it was not certain that all 32 Democrats would sign off on the leadership deal when the caucus meets Saturday in Manhattan, leaving open a possibility for further turmoil. “I don’t think there’s support for it,” a senior Democratic official said, adding that Mr. Smith gave the men too much power."

Again, what's the alternative? And casting aspersions on Espada and Kruger won't make any deal happen-and what's this about a credit card debt for the Brooklyn lawmaker? " A review of public records suggests that Mr. Kruger, who would have oversight of finance policy, has had trouble paying his credit card bills. He had two civil court judgments against him last year for owing Discover Bank sums of $1,252 and $1,132. “Those were some outstanding credit card bills that were satisfied,” said Jason Koppel, a spokesman for Mr. Kruger."

This is all they can come up with? We're wondering whether the mudslingers, and the so-called good government groups that the Times cites, will draw a bead on true miscreants-like the head of the House Ways and Means Committee. If Susan Lerner of Common Cause finds this "worrisome," then what's to make of Charlie Rangel's escapades?

The old saw about those who love the law, shouldn't watch how the law (or sausage) is made, comes to mind here. Good government is government that is run effectively; how leaders are chosen is not always pretty to watch. How the current fight ends will have nothing to do with the Marquis of Queensbury-or the sensibilities of the editorialists over at 33rd Street.