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Thoughts on The Republicans Retaking The Senate

by on June 8, 2009

When I heard the news on the radio earlier today, I have to admit I was actually quite conflicted.

The State Senate was rocked today when two Democratic renegade senators broke from the party ranks and joined a surprise — and successful — move by Republicans to retake control of the 62-member chamber.

As 30 Democrats streamed out of the chamber, 30 Republicans and the two renegades remained and — despite lights being turned off, Internet service being shut down and a brief attempt by guards to clear the ornate chamber — wrestled control from the Democrats who took over the Senate in January after seven decades of GOP dominance.

The 32 lawmakers immediately elected Sen. Pedro Espada, a Bronx Democrat, as president of the body and Sen. Dean Skelos, a Nassau County Republican, as majority leader. Skelos had been majority leader when the Senate flipped to Democratic control six months ago.

“This is a coalition,” Espada said, insisting he remains a Democrat. He predicted more Democrats will join their cause in the coming days.

As a former Massachusetts resident, i’ve seen firsthand how one-party rule can damage a state. So, in the short term, I do see the short term benefit to giving Republicans control of the senate again, and particularly ending Malcolm Smith’s brief moment in the leadership. I believe in checks and balances, so in that respect, I can say “this is good.”

But, I don’t like deals like this that swing control back and forth. I didn’t like it when Jim Jeffords bailed on the Republican Party in 2001 by becoming an independent and giving Democrats an unelected majority status in the U.S. Senate. New York voters chose to give Democrats control of the Senate last year, they see it through, and decide in the next election if it was really worth it. I think they were starting to see that the Democrats aren’t the party of the people, and now that message may get muddled.

Also, I wonder if this will actually hurt the Republican Party in the long run, particularly in the next election. I suspect that most won’t look favorably on this switch of power by parliamentary coup and the Republican Party opened itself up to being the scapegoat of what will likely been seen as an unpopular power grab.

It may have been more beneficial to the Republican Party to leave things be, and let the state Democratic Party implode on account of its own corruption, lack of leadership, and disunity.

David Paterson’s popularity — or more accurately, lack thereof — already put him at odds with his party. The typical one-party-rule rubber stamp situation doesn’t quite apply here. But, that being said, the presence of one-party rule with an unpopular governor would have been a better situation for Senate Republicans to paint an effective election-year narrative for change and accountability. Before this switch, Democrats effectively owned every hot button issue out of Albany, especially high taxes, and wasteful spending.

Senator Bill Stachowski, undeniably on the Republicans’ hit list in the next election, was an easier target with Democrats in power, and had been making a habit of abusing taxpayer dollars as a result of newfound powers granted by majority status.

Then there’s the fact the Democratic Party, which was reportedly “on the brink of an all- out civil war,” now has something to unite them, as all of their internal struggles are forgotten. I think they strategy of divide and conquer would have been far more effective at producing electoral victories to not only bring Republicans back in power, but to keep them in power, and bring balance back to state government.

So, I can’t say this Republican is jumping for joy right now.  The Democrats were doing fine being their own worst enemy, this power switch has given them a rallying point.

UPDATE: Paterson is outraged

  1. Hiram Monserrate is your side’s problem now. Why have the Republican demands for his resignation suddenly fallen silent?

    This is Espada’s third-or-so party switcheroo, and his ethics are questionable, to be kind.

    A wife beater and a lying, vacillating cheat are the two people with whom the Republicans have cast their lot as part of an alleged “reform” “coalition” government.

    This is all Pigeon and Espada using Golisano’s name and money to attain political power.

    It makes the reign of Malcolm Smith look downright honorable and effective, by comparison.

  2. There are some potential downsides to the coup, but I think the overall effect is quite positive in the short term. Especially if the Republicans can stop some of the headlong rush to socialism and abrogation of our 2nd amendment rights.

    For my coverage of the events yesterday visit:

    Dan Maloney
    NY State Coordinator
    Gathering of Eagles

  3. Pundit-
    It happened. Deal with it. If the roles were reversed and two republicans switched to democrats you’d be jumping for joy. You clicked your heels when Arlen Spector defected to the dems and now in typical liberal fashion you are crying foul when the tables are turned. Were you complaining about Espada’s ethics when he was on the dem side of the aisle? If you were…I missed it. Admittedly this is back room big money politics at it’s worst but when it comes to embarrassment the self proclaimed “sheriff of Wall St.” and his sexual indiscretions, Patterson and his incompetance and buffoonery, and Malcolm Smith (talk about a back room deal!) and his short reign rank above this one…

  4. First of all, shim, you’re lying.

    Here is a link to the post I did when Specter announced his switch. I did not “jump for joy”. I did not “click [my] heels”.

    To the contrary, it was a melancholy post; I wrote a post that lamented the fact that the Republican Party was not only alienating, but actively helping to jettison moderate members from its ranks.

    I know, because I was one of them.

    So, you can shove the falsity right where it hurts.

    With that being said, I have repeatedly said Democrats should “deal with it”. I did not jump on the “oppose this at all costs & go to war” bandwagon that my colleagues on the left jumped on. I suggested that they deal with it and move on. It’s now incumbent on the Republicans to put their money where their big, allegedly reformist mouths are.

    As for Espada, here is a search on my site for that word. If you could do me a favor and select a single, positive, solitary positive thing that I said about him, please do let me know. For the record, I once even commented about his ethically challenged predecessor, Efrain Gonzalez.

    I am embarrassed when the State Senate gets all coup-y and taken by surprised. What that has to do with Spitzer is beyond me, since that, too, was an embarrassment and I treated it as such. Paterson is Paterson. Hardly worth mentioning.

    Next time you want to accuse me of being all “Democrats can do no wrong and Republicans can do no right”, why don’t you do your fucking homework, first. K? Thanks so much.

  5. Check out this chart of the make up of the NY Senate. “Upstate” vs. “Downstate.”

  6. Pundit-
    While the “click your heels” and “jumping for joy” comments were meant to illustrate a point admittedly they probably were a bit over the top when referring to you specifically and should have been reserved for others on the left. Points taken on Estrada. As I mentioned this is “back room, smarmy politics” at it’s worst. My refernce to Patterson and Spitzer came from your comments (on your site) that this coup was an embarrassment to the people of New York…a comment probably better suited for your site and not this one. Guess I got my sites confused. All in all your points are well taken. We’ll live to fight another day…

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. GOP Regains Control of NY State Senate - AIP Blog - American Issues Project
  2. Siena Poll: Voters Angry At Senate- The Buffalo Bean
  3. The State Senate Coup In New York Helps Paterson, Not Reform - AIP Blog - American Issues Project

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