You would think after the last three weeks in Albany, that there are plenty of losers to go around when all is said and done.
Well, not so fast. You see, there are actually a whole lot of winners, if only in their own minds. And ,one big loser.
Topping the winners list: Brooklyn’s John Sampson. The Republican coup actually triggered another one in the democratic conference, and Sampson came out on top, essentially deposing Malcolm Smith. In addition, Sampson is an opponent of Mayoral control of schools, so he will just be SO UPSET if he cannot get a vote on the bill already passed in the Assembly.
Speaking of the Assembly, Shelly Silver is another winner. He managed to do the impossible – make the other wing of Government look like its filled with men of stature. He has been passing bill after important bill, and the man who has been the most powerful politician in the Capitol now looks the most statesman-like.
On the Republican side, Dean Skelos is once again catapulted to the center of prominence. Moreover, even if the coup was not as successful as he wanted, he still looks like a fighter to all those disaffected folks on Long Island who believe the Senate is using them as a piggy bank.
What about the Gang of Three, or Four, or whatever it is this week? Each one stands to gain.
Pedro Espada went from "the man dodging investigation" to the man who refused to go back on his word. Uh, well that’s at least what he probably thinks. Nonetheless, those who think Espada is blowing off support in his district do not see the whole picture. He cleverly highlights the fact that he would be the first Latino Senate President in Albany history. No doubt that appeals to voters who think Latinos have been ignored.
And then there is Hiram Monserrate. After flipping and flopping, you would think he would be in the loser category. But, not necessarily. Anything that changes the subject from his assault investigation is a good thing.
Ruben Diaz did not bolt his party when Espada and Monserrate did. Some suggest that never mind loyalty, he was just making sure his son with a bright political future was not subject to party retribution. Regardless, Diaz maintains his position as a maverick who is beholden to nobody, and his constituents in the Bronx appreciate that.
And don’t think party loyalties has split “Gang” loyalties. Right in front of the cameras, Diaz, Espada and Monserrate exchanged big hugs and even stage whispers to each other. You get the feeling they’ll join forces in something, again, down the road.
Then there is the Governor. He has spent three weeks beating up on senators from both sides. In addition, as one Democrat told me, “the only thing we are united against, is the Governor!”
Democrats are furious that Governor David A. Paterson has blamed both sides in his non-stop press conferences. And, it’s pretty clear Paterson is playing to the gallery, using senators as whipping boys and girls, to raise his anemic poll numbers. It’s not clear if it has worked so far, but it’s hard to argue with the political logic that the only people less popular than the governor, are state senators.
So those are the many political winners. Have you guessed who the loser is? Oh, I am sure you figured it out.
If not, check the mirror.