What an interesting time to be in Albany.
According to yesterday's NY Times, last night the "agreement" that would have kept the 3 renegade NYS Senate members in the Democrat caucus has broken up with allegations of lying, cheating and misrepresentation going back and forth between the Renegade 3 and Senator Malcolm Smith, who was the Senate Minority leader in the last session but was due to be the President Pro Tem in the new Session and thus the "Majority Leader" (one of the three renegades known as the Gang of Three would have held the title but we have to assume Smith would have been the real leader.)
I didn't like the deal between these three guys and Smith. Then again I am not crazy about Smith as leader either. Smith is no David Patterson (who was the minority leader until he went to the Lt. Governor's job and was promoted to Governor when Then Governor Elliot Spitzer resigned after being caught in a Federal investigation into prostitution...and you think Illinois is a screwed up state. I just think it is less interesting than NY politics).
Unlike Patterson, Smith carries a band with him everywhere he goes. There are little secrets when Smith is around. He is not a classic dealmaker(here is proof)because he has not proven to be trustworthy nor can he keep his foot out of his mouth.
On the other hand, Sen-elect Pedro Espada (who said Smith wasn't ready for prime time) has some nerve criticizing anyone. He barely missed getting indicted last time he was in the Senate, he owes 50K in fines for his last campaign.
I have been active in politics however for nearly 40 years and through that whole time, the NYS Senate has never, NEVER had a Democrat majority. If you are a Democrat Governor, this is not a good time to blow that. You may not get that Obama bump in your election and you could get saddled with the NY Economic situation. Moreover, if the Governor is going to go along with East River tolls, and screwing Long Island on School aid, Dems are not going to hold the Senate long unless they can capitalize on having the majority now.
Now from my end. I am hoping that the Democrats lose the Senate leadership, and that my former "colleague" Dean Skelos takes over as Majority leader. Dean has been groomed for the spot, is easier to get along with than his predecessor (Sen. Joseph Bruno) and is from Long Island. But this isn't about my interests. (I am just stating them so no one can say I had an altierior motive in writing this post)It is about the future of the Democrats in the State Senate. The Senate change will move power in the Senate to the cities and away from upstate and Long Island. It will focus all three players in Albany politics in the hands of the Dems, and in a month or so, Patterson is to name the chief judge of the State Courts too. Further, with another census about to come (2010 is a census year) Dems can control the district lines giving them the opportunity to control NYS Politics in the Legislature for more than the next 50 years.
So far, the Senate Democrats look like a bad circus led by a clown. I don't doubt however, that David Patterson, a strong politician and the Governor, will put this together. How he does it, I have no idea yet (He may need to move Smith into his administration and give the Pres. Pro Tem to Senator Klein, a far more savvy pol than Smith in my humble opinion, but the end of this is far from in sight.
I will be back in Albany next week working right next door to the zoo. I will let you know what I hear.