Monday, December 22, 2008

Times' Senate Musings

Eleanor Randolf weighed in yesterday on the stalemate in the state senate-and she invokes the ghost of Joe Zaretzki-but with Randolf you're always wondering where all of the information is coming from. In any case, she sees potential disaster in the making: "Democratic senators managed to win a two-seat majority in November, but still cannot decide on a new leader. One sleazy deal to give the leadership to Malcolm Smith of Queens has already fallen apart. That had three particularly whiny Democrats threatening to vote for a Republican leader if Mr. Smith did not do their bidding."

Sleazy deal? Does she mean the part of the deal that would have lead to greater power for committee chairs? Oh, probably not. She must be upset with giving Espada and Kruger plum assignments; unlike all of the other politicians who horse trade as part of their political essence-or a slug like Joe Biden who's keeping his senate seat warm for his highly qualified son.

But we digress. Randolf's stealth intent here isn't disparaging Kruger and Espada-"Manchurian Democrats" is the way she describes them-it is to undermine the Smith ascension by raising the Republican bogyman: "While the Democrats scramble to hold on to their slim majority, Republicans are already negotiating behind the scenes to find a different leader who will keep things from changing too much in Albany. New Yorkers have no time for such nonsense. The state faces a mammoth budget crisis. And after years of stalemate, voters are expecting a new Senate to clean up campaign financing and reform redistricting. Instead, as in Senator Zaretzki’s day, Democrats are looking so disorganized that some voters must already be wondering what was so bad about the Republicans."

Randolf's "reporting" becomes a bit clearer-at least for the cognoscenti. And which voters does she see as longing for campaign finance and redistricting reform? No, Randolf's real intent lies elsewhere. Come on Dems, she whispers, let's find a better leader who can keep the Republican wolf from our door. And with this we're left to wonder: Cui bono?