I’m trying to figure out whose 2009 was worse: The New York Giants or the New York State Senate. At least the Giants won eight games. And they get to rebuild and have a new team in September, in a shiny new stadium.
The Senate? They are trying to clean the mud off and start over again this week
with a governor intent on beating them up at every opportunity, and a media ready to pounce on every misstep.
Do they deserve a better fate? Probably not. At some point the folks in Albany will begin to realize that the old rules are being rewritten, and by next November the voters may write them right out of the picture.
This will be quite the year of political battles – and maybe the year of the “Comeback Kids.”
Like the famous line from “Monty Python and the Holy Graill,” we may be saying of some pols, "Wait, HE’S NOT DEAD YET!"
I’ve been one of the few who still believe that Governor David Paterson can climb back up, and it certainly is a long climb. In the past few months, he’s basically made all the right political moves. I’m not sure when it started (probably when the legislature began to malfunction), but it seems pretty clear to me that Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch has had a golden influence on this administration. Even if anyone wants to argue about the credibility of an unelected governor, they won’t dare try it with Ravitch, one of the few statesmen now roaming the Statehouse.
Right now New Yorkers should be happy that the two top executives of New York State, Paterson and Ravitch, have nothing to lose. People in that position tend to govern better. Paterson can only go up in the polls, and Ravitch has made it abundantly clear to anyone who will listen that this is his final political gig.
So both are not afraid to take a “damn the consequences” approach. Ironically, voters generally love that style. People want a decisive leader, even if they don’t always agree with his decisions.
Paterson is also getting help from old allies, like Congressmember Charlie Rangel, who is warning Attorney General Andrew Cuomo not to run, or risk the wrath of African-American voters. Cuomo may have thought he was good to go when President Barack Obama seemed to ordain him the next New York State governor. But it appears the president’s honeymoon is over, and after the way he dissed Bill Thompson in the race for New York City mayor, its doubtful he can call any more shots in New York elections.
Some no doubt want Paterson out, so he won’t be a drag on the statewide ticket. That may even include Senator Charles Schumer, the closest thing to a re-election lock in the state. Schumer will also want some coat-tails for Kirsten Gillibrand. With Rudy Giuliani out of the Senate race, Republican heavyweight Peter King is rethinking his decision not to challenge Gillibrand, and says he will soon make up his mind.
Democrats also have a razor-thin majority in the Senate, and it too could be up for grabs.
Cuomo continues his "Rose Garden" style of running: say nothing and pretend you’re not interested. But the waiting game could backfire if Paterson’s numbers continue to climb. And you wonder if the state is ready to anoint its attorney general to be the next governor. Remember how that worked out last time?
In the end, the voters will have final say in November.
As for the Giants, they fired their defensive coordinator. They say in sports that you can’t fire the whole team.
In politics, you can.