Thursday, June 11, 2009

spitzer and the albany coup

(So good government groups and editorial boards rightly demanded that individual legislators be empowered to turn the Assembly and Senate into real deliberative chambers. In an odd way, that is exactly what is happening. With control of the Senate almost perfectly divided between the parties, any one legislator can tip the balance of power, and hence every legislator has something heretofore denied them—great negotiating capacity. After playing the role of sheep for years, legislators are now recognizing they have the power to be coyotes.)Eliot Spitzer, Slate OnLine his current Slate column, Spitzer suggests the Albany Senate pusch is a good move. Spitzer argues that it shows non-leader Senate members becoming enboldened...a good sign of backbench democracy.
It's an interesting position, but it seems to ignore many negative elements of the coup.
Espada and Monserrate's independence is hidden in the shadow of the authoritian Golisano. Golisano is a non-elected, wealthy lobbyist directly intervening in the Senate operations.
Espada and Monserrate are not altrustic politicos acting to democratize the system. Instead, they are opportunistic, ethically-challenged men who are seeking the biggest bribe.
Spitzer also slides around the issue of the absence of a lieutenant-governor. It was his personal hubris that has allowed the bandito Espada to be next in line to play governor.
Spitzer can argue that Espada is democratizing the system. It can also be argued that Espada is power- mad and dangerous. Is it good that Gov. Paterson cannot leave the state for the next 18 months, afraid that Espada is holding the only key to the Gov's 2nd floor office? &D