Seems like there’s trouble in the New York portion of the political playground…
Senator Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, is expected to become the new majority leader.
Two state senators — Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens — moved to defect to the Republican side, which would end Democratic control of the chamber.
In a real "He who laughs last, laughs best" moment, on Monday, June 8th, two Democrats, Pedro Espada, Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, defected to the Republican side, joining the 30 Senate Republicans in a motion that would displace Democrats as the party in control. Apparently, these two newly recruited Republicans are trying to beat the Democrats at their own game. Who better than two [former] fellow Democrats to do the dirty deed, huh?
One person backing the revolt to put Republicans back in charge was Tom Golisano, the Rochester businessman and founder of Responsible New York, a political action committee that gave thousands of dollars to Senate Democrats last year to help them take control of the Senate, but who has become increasingly critical of the party. Even he sees through the Democrats and their corrupt version of "change". Mr. Golisano recently announced that he was moving his legal residence to Florida out of anger about the budget deal crafted in April by Democratic leaders in Albany, which included an increase in taxes on high earners. The rich can throw their money around like it’s water to get what they want, but us? We have to sit and take it…until voting time rolls around. The politicians know this, and that is why you’ll always see them getting off their butts during an election year to do something for the people then boast about it in photo ops afterwards.
You didn’t see the Republicans acting in this childish way when Arlen Specter defected to the Democrats’ side. Obama was strutting like a peacock in front of the cameras when he got the news, and the other Democrats? Well, they continuously rubbed the news in the Republicans’ faces, as did the media. Specter defected for his own selfish reasons…he and his political advisers knew that he couldn’t win a Republican primary against a conservative challenger, particularly in light of his vote for Obama’s stimulus package which, by the way, hasn’t stimulated anything except controversy.
Now it is the Democrats who are crying foul (story follows the video). The Democrats were so upset that they resorted to grade school antics to show their displeasure. During the coup, Democrats fled the chamber, turned out the lights, and cut off the Internet feed of chamber proceedings, leaving Republicans and their two Democratic friends to take the vote in the dark. Come on kids…play nice.
In a news conference in the early evening, Senator Malcolm Smith of Queens, leader of the Senate Democrats, insisted that the Republican-engineered vote was illegal and violated parliamentary procedure. Smith was elected Temporary President and Majority Leader of the New York State Senate in January of 2009, becoming the first black majority leader in New York State history and the first Democratic leader in almost 40 years. He doesn’t want this prestigious title to be taken away from him any more than Obama wants his taken away. When you view the video below, it is Smith who is crying the loudest. He said the vote was illegal because it had already taken place after the meeting was already brought to an end. Waaa…Waaa…
It’s ironic that Golisano played a role in negotiating an original deal under which Espada and Monserrate—along with Senators Rubén Díaz and Carl Kruger of Brooklyn—gave their support to Smith. Steve Pigeon, his aide, has been a frequent presence in Albany in recent weeks, and said that Golisano felt betrayed by Smith because he had not delivered the overhaul of Senate rules he had promised upon taking power. Pigeon said, “He feels very strongly that he backed Malcolm Smith, and Smith didn’t keep his word, and didn’t make the changes he said he would. What you will see now is power-sharing, real reform.” Hmmm…sounds like another black guy we all know. What is it with these two black guys and broken promises of "change"?
You can bet this is not over as a new political war will probably erupt over this, maybe ending in court. I’m sure the Democrats are so ticked off that they will do everything in their power to dig up whatever dirt they can on Espada and Monserrate (besides the dirt already out there), in order to turn the tables on them. That’s the Democratic way! I hope it won’t be going to the Supreme Court. With the potential of Sotomayor stepping into the Supreme Court, you can bet how she’ll vote. We know they’re all a bunch of corrupt power mongers, but with everything else going on in this world, this is another distraction that America doesn’t need right now…
CHAOS IN ALBANY: GOP Coup Upsets Balance In Senate
Malcolm Smith Ousted As Senate Majority Leader; Dems Turn Off Lights, Cut Internet Power In Attempt To Stop Coup
Paterson Goes Ballistic: I’m Here To Stand Up For Democracy
ALBANY (CBS) ―
Republicans, who lost control of the New York State Senate last November have apparently regained control, and without an election!
The GOP power play involves two renegade Democrats and a billionaire businessman.
Welcome to New York politics.
What happened Monday night in Albany, a coup in the state Senate five weeks in the making, made for a unique kind of drama, pitting Senate Democrats against Republicans.
Out of power? Former Democratic State Senate President and Majority Leader Malcolm Smith.
"Let’s just be real clear, the Senate Democrats are still in the majority," said Smith. "Malcolm Smith is still the majority leader."
Assuming those titles in a return to power is Senator Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre.
How did it happen? Democrats can thank their own: Pedro Espada of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, who turned their backs on their fellow Democrats and joined with Republicans.
"I want to thank Pedro and Hiram. I know the difficult votes you did today (Monday) but they did the right thing and I want to thank Tom Golisano who certainly has been a leader," said Skelos.
In fact, it was upstate billionaire Tom Golisano who brokered the coup. Democrats intend to fight the powergrab in court, arguing, among other points, the Senate was adjourned when Republicans seized power.
"I don’t care if I’m the only one standing, but someone has got to stand up and say that this is wrong," said Paterson.
For Espada and Monserrate, both of whom have legal troubles, the switch is intriguing.
Earlier this year, Republicans were calling for Monserrate’s resignation following his criminal indictment for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.
And the State Attorney General’s office is currently investigating a non-profit organization formerly run by Espada, who as CBS 2 HD reported exclusively in April, lives in Mamaroneck, despite representing the Bronx.
During the coup, Democrats fled the chamber, turned out the lights, and cut off the Internet feed of chamber proceedings, leaving Republicans and their two Democratic friends to take the vote in the dark.
A media advisory released by Mark Hansen, a spokesman for the Senate’s GOP conference, foreshadowed the shake-up: "An historic change in leadership is taking place at this moment and a new bipartisan, coalition is being established that is bringing real reform to the Senate RIGHT NOW."
Smith was elected Temporary President and Majority Leader of the New York State Senate in January of 2009, becoming the first African-American Majority Leader in New York State history and the first Democratic leader in almost 40 years.
Gov. David Paterson, who is noticeably furious, addressed the coup at an evening news conference.
"I should be standing here talking to you about the issues that the people need Albany to address. Once again Albany’s dysfunction has raised its ugly head," Paterson said. "I came here today to stand up for everyone in this state who still believes in a democracy — that there are perimeters in which we govern, that Albany can be more than the dysfunctional wreck it has become over the years. And I don’t care if the only one standing, but someone has got to stand up and say that this is wrong.
"The last two weeks of session is not the time when we conduct campaigns. It is not the time when we elect leaders. It is not the time for politics. It is the time for governance."
Right now we have a real standoff.
Skelos and Espada took their oaths of office — and get this: if something happens to Gov. Paterson, Espada, as president pro tempore of the Senate, fills in.
Both sides will contest the other, with the Democrats saying the move is illegal because the session was already gaveled out.
In the end it will likely end up in the courts.