Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Go Tell It On The Mountain

Could things get any more messed up in Albany? With the legislative session winding down toward the June 22nd closure date, the state senate remains rudderless-and closed; locked up by the disgruntled-apparently-former majority leader: "Desperate Democrats trying to cling to power in the wake of a brazen Republican coup are threatening to lock down the Senate on Wednesday.A spokesman for ousted Majority Leader Malcolm Smith said the doors of the chamber will remain shut until Smith calls lawmakers back into session."

And Smith's days-or perhaps hours-even among his most loyal followers-are being recognized as numbered: "Tuesday night, a handful of key Senate Democrats met with Monserrate and Espada in a desperate effort to win their votes back for another Democrat. Everyone recognizes that Smith's brief reign as Democratic leader is over. Everyone, that is, except Smith, who was still refusing late Tuesday to step aside. For the Democrats, who just finished moving into bigger Senate offices and hiring more staff as the new majority party, the thought of giving all that up is almost too much to bear."

It's apparently all over for Malcolm but the name calling-with the former leaders' spokesperson calling two renegade Democratic senators, "a thief and a thug." Which doesn't as absolve Smith of his failure to keep track of what's going on in his chamber-something that Juan Gonzales zeroes in on this morning: "Malcolm Smith is today the ex-majority leader of the state Senate because he ignored two cardinal rules of politics. Rule No. 1: Count your votes - and do it every day. Rule No. 2: Keep your enemies close. Smith revealed himself as a bumbling bystander totally unprepared for prime time this week. Two disaffected and devious Democrats, Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate, pulled off a stunning revolt and handed majority control of the Senate back to the Republicans."

Can the situation be salvaged for the Democrats? Very hard to say; but, as Gonzales is reporting, last ditch efforts to do so-sans Smith-are still underway. Yet, the Reverend Dullard hasn't given up on Smith. We're puzzling this out: "The Rev. Al Sharpton worked Tuesday behind the scenes in support of Smith. To put pressure on Monserrate, Sharpton on Tuesday night announced he's holding an "emergency leadership summit" in Monserrate's district this morning. "Rev. Sharpton has spoken to Hiram Monserrate and he's very concerned, and he wants to talk to leaders in his Council district about what their positions are," said Sharpton spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger."

In all likelihood, however, Dean Skelos has, like the Phoenix, risen from the ashes to re-take control of the chamber. If nothing is done to make a new Democratic leader, than a number of the Democratic senators will surely assume chairmanships and a facsimile of bipartisanship will be constructed out of political papier-mâché." What happens to the big issues still unresolved? That's any one's guess, so stay tuned.