Governor Andrew Cuomo has made enacting campaign finance reform part of his “litmus test” for judging the new coalition in the New York State Senate. Based on their recent statements, it seems he may only get half of the reforms he wanted from the new merger the Independent Democratic Conference and the State Senate Republicans.
Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the influential Daily Kos blog network, is definitely not a fan of New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, or his speculated presidential campaign. The latest transgression comes from Mr. Cuomo’s tacit support for a breakaway Democratic conference in the New York State Senate, and their deal to maintain power with the GOP slate of senators, which Mr. Moulitsas, a liberal activist, takes sharp issue with.
“Imagine that in some alternate universe, in 2010, President Barack Obama had encouraged Sens. Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, and Mark Pryor to create an ‘Independent Democratic Caucus’ which would caucus with Republicans and deprive the majority of control of the Senate?” Mr. Moulitsas rhetorically asked in a blog post, listing moderate Democratic senators from the time. “How angry would that make you? Well, that’s exactly the sort of thing you could expect from a President Andrew Cuomo, considering he’s doing just that in New York today.”
Yesterday afternoon, the course of the New York State Senate was altered when a faction of the on-paper Democratic majority announced they would instead form a power-sharing agreement with the Republicans, equally splitting control of the chamber in an “unprecedented” fashion. Although labor has been wary of the situation thus far, seemingly preferring Democratic rule, Transport Workers Union Local 100 called the new coalition-style government “the best possible option” for the state.
It’s a particularly wild week in Albany, and in a surprise announcement, five members of of the “Independent Democratic Conference” have joined their Republican counterparts to form a “historic bipartisan partnership,” even as the Democrats protest the situation by pointing to their on-paper majority in the chamber. The IDC, whose numbers expanded today with Democratic Senator Malcolm Smith joining their ranks, had hinted at a bipartisan coalition of some kind, but only now have the details of this arrangement emerged.
up with criticism
MSNBC host Chris Hayes isn’t done with Governor Andrew Cuomo, at least not yet. Mr. Hayes, who blasted “New York’s supposedly Democratic governor” last week for failing to support Democratic control of the New York State Senate, revisited the topic again yesterday to argue Mr. Cuomo is knowingly undermining his stated ideological interests.
“Well, I agree!” Mr. Hayes said after playing a clip of the governor dismissing his criticism, calling for a policy-oriented discussion instead of a partisan one.
up with criticism
In case you missed it from early Saturday morning, MSNBC host Chris Hayes is really not a fan of “New York’s supposedly Democratic governor,” Andrew Cuomo, and in a monologue lasting several minutes, he urged his viewers to reject Mr. Cuomo’s hypothetical presidential campaign in four years.
“So what do we know that we didn’t know last week? We now know that Democrats cannot count on New York’s supposedly Democratic governor as an ally and every Democratic primary voter in the country should know that too,” he opened up his segment, clearly on a roll. “We already knew that in the run up to the election, Andrew Cuomo, whose aspirations for national office are well-known, did essentially nothing to aid the Democratic Party in its quest to take back the the State Senate from Republicans.”
Although most of the attention last night was rightfully placed on the presidential race, a number of important state legislative campaigns were also waged, which, depending on how they turn out, could potentially have a significant impact on the legislation and policies that emerge out of Albany in the coming years. Notably, control of the New York State Senate hangs in the balance, and if Democrats win there, the party would control the trifecta of the state government as they already have an overwhelmingly majority in the State Assembly and a similarly aligned governor.
With one temporary exception, the senate has been continuously controlled by the GOP in recent years. Despite a large fundraising edge and an aggressive gerrymander which appeared to have locked in a Republican majority for the immediate future, a number of surprisingly strong Democratic victories pushed back against the conventional wisdom that they had no chance at reversing their fortunes this year,
Strongly Worded Letters
A few days ago, Rabbi Noson Leiter of Torah Jews for Decency said Hurricane Sandy brought a “divine justice” upon New York State as retribution for legalizing same sex marriage. To prove his point Rabbi Leiter pointed to the storm damage in Lower Manhattan, which he referred to as “one of the national centers for homosexuality,” to make his point. In a statement released this afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who led the push for New York’s gay marriage legislation last year, took issue with the remark.
“The comments made by Rabbi Noson Leiter that sought to link the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to our state’s embrace of marriage equality are as offensive as they are ignorant,” Mr. Cuomo said. “This catastrophic storm claimed the lives of more than forty New Yorkers. This kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in our public discourse, and is particularly distasteful in times of tragedy.”
Earlier this afternoon, “a group of irate Orthodox community leaders” held a conference call to protest poll site changes implemented in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens. In the call, local Jewish leaders alleged their new voting location was designed to dampen turnout in their ideologically conservative community as it struggles to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.
“We’re a group of people who really, really suffered tremendously,” Richard Altabe, a board member of the Far Rockaway Jewish Alliance, said. “Or voting rights are about to be taken away from us. It’s going to be difficult enough to get people to vote….Our ability to speak and have our voices heard is going to be squashed by circumstances. I’m really, really horrified.”
What You Should Know
Democratic State Senator Rubén Díaz Sr., known for his opposition to gay marriage and his outspoken “What You Should Know” press releases, sent out another one of his inimitable missives earlier this afternoon. It’s quite a doozy. In the statement, Mr. Díaz touched on all of his favorite topics; attacking Governor Andrew Cuomo, brandishing his socially conservative beliefs and advocating for increased minority representation in New York politics.