Friday, December 12, 2008

Smith Stands Tall

The revolution appears to have petered out, at least according to what Liz B has posted on the meeting today of the senate Democratic conference: "Following a roughly two-hour meeting in which about two dozen of the 32 Senate Democrats participated, Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith emerged from 250 Broadway and confidently declared to reporters: "I want to be real clear about the fact that despite the rumors, the members (are) very united, and we're going to move forward with the majority come January. We will have 32 come January."

This, of course, leaves aside the nettlesome question of how Smith is gonna get from point A to point B, something that Senator Dilan answers: "Sen. Martin Malave Dilan, whose name was mentioned in the memo of agreement drawn up by the Gang of Three, said Smith perhaps "got a bit zealous in trying to get us to the majority," but then realized the error of his ways.
Now, according to Dilan, Smith has assured his members that if decides to renegotiate a deal with the renegade trio, the most that will be offered will be committee chairmanships. "They're not going to walk into leadership," Dilan said."

Well., we guess that clears this all up-but what appears to be a solid bet after all of the posturing-is that the numbers aren't there; for either a coup, or for Smith's ascension into leadership. Klein, for his part, appeared to be conciliatory: "Sen. Jeff Klein, who is most often mentioned as a potential challenger to Smith, participated in today's meeting by phone from Florida, where he is visiting his mother. "There is no coup," Klein told me, emphatically. "I support Malcolm. I think the most important thing we need to do is move forward as 32 Democrats, usher in a new Albany and deal with the problems that are so important to the residents of New York State."

So it seems that what the senate really needs is more math majors. As Liz wrote earlier: "Another reason why Smith is safe for now: Gov. David Paterson. Both sides, the conference and the Gang of Three, are waiting for word from the governor as to how he wants this whole thing to be resolved, and Paterson appears to want to keep his distance for the time being. The issue of racial politics is hard to overlook here. Since Paterson became the first African American to hold a legislative leadership post in 2002, the caucus has been loathe to give up the seat, and given their dominance of the conference, there is no way a coup attempt could succeed without their votes. Of the people who lost out to Smith in the 2006 minority leader battle, only one, Sen. Martin Malave Dilan, is a minority. The others - Klein, Sen. Eric Schneiderman and Sen. Neil Breslin - are all white."

So we're back at the drawing board, and as we pointed out before, simply awaiting divine intervention. It seems that discomfort will have to be a persistent problem until the successful intervention is effected.