Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Wacky Kornacki

Steve Kornacki opines in the Observer about the Espada and Monseratte defection and concludes that both senators are short termers: "But the new G.O.P. majority will be built on an absurdly flimsy foundation. Sure, Espada and Monserrate will provide the two crucial votes that will make Dean Skelos majority leader, a development that will severely complicate the budget process and, more broadly, the agenda of David Paterson and state Democrats. But by flipping to the G.O.P., Espada and Monserrate have almost certainly expedited their own exits from Albany—and the election of new, far more loyal Democrats to their seats."

"Almost certainly?" This doesn't strike us as prescient analysis; and looks to us more like wishful thinking: "The simple fact is that both men hail from staunchly Democratic districts: Espada from the 33rd in the Bronx and Monserrate from the 13th in Queens, where elections are decided by Democrats in primaries—not by the November electorate. Since billionaire Tom Golisano helped orchestrate their defections, Espada and Monserrate both are clearly banking on his financial support to help them overcome their districts’ partisan demographics in November 2010. It may not help much. With the 13th and the 33rd, we aren’t talking about reasonably competitive districts where a well-funded and organized candidate of either party can win. We’re talking about Democratic redoubts with powerful party machines."

Is the dude serious? Whatever one thinks about these senators' actions, their vulnerability isn't so cut and dry. In the Bronx, where once a strong and united party successfully punished Espada's apostasy, there now exists a significant split; and in all likelihood former chairman Rivera and his forces will rally against any effort to unseat Espada. The Senator's district is also right in the Rivera wheelhouse.

In Queens, we need to remember that the part supported Monseratte because they felt that his strength in the district was formidable. Clearly, defeating him will not be all that easy, and if-contra Kornacki-he beats the assault rap, he could achieve a hero's status in the community that will make him impregnable.

So while we do believe that this shift could be temporary, the impact of what happened yesterday is still uncertain. That it shakes Albany to its foundation is, however, the one certainty in all of what has transpired.