The news is not all good for the Democrats
New York state has been getting bluer and bluer. Republican congressional seats have been falling like leaves in the autumn; ditto state Senate and Assembly seats. Why? Well, we don’t really know but we have some good ideas. George Bush and his crowd were an anathema to sensible New Yorkers. His group of conservative Republicans really ticked off a lot of New Yorkers who wanted out of foreign entanglements and were in favor of things like stem cell research and women’s reproductive rights. Revelations that have surfaced since the Bush-Cheney team departed the White House have revolted a lot of people, including many of the state’s sensible, moderate Republicans. An increasing number of New York political independents have also been voting Democratic. But things are changing. A clique of Democratic nogoodniks has taken over the leadership of the state Senate, repulsing sensible voters. Their antics are symbolic of what turns taxpaying voters off. That has evened the playing field a little. Nevertheless, as the old saying goes, you can’t win unless you have a team, and the Republicans do not have such a group.
Let’s take it from the top. Governor David Paterson is vulnerable. There is a general assumption that he will be persuaded to step aside and Andrew Cuomo, who is presently very popular, will run. On the other hand, if Paterson’s polling numbers stay low and he decides to tough it out and run he will be vulnerable to any number of otherwise potentially flawed and even unknown Republicans. Rudy Giuliani is ahead of Paterson in the polls. The former mayor has a lot to answer for (like his association with the disgraced Bernie Kerik) and my bet is that Giuliani doesn’t have the guts to run. We are also hearing unbelievable stories about Long Island’s Rick Lazio rising from the political dead and running for a major office. Hey, you never know and I can prove it. Remember the political unknown George Pataki? There was a “who-he” if there ever was one but people were mad at Mario Cuomo who had overstayed his welcome and we had Pataki for a long, long time. Too long.
The Democratic big boys, headed by Chuck Schumer, decided that Kirsten Gillibrand would replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate. Using their clout, they got the White House to send the word to a whole bunch of superior candidates like Long Island’s Steve Israel and Manhattan’s Carolyn Maloney, not to primary Gillibrand. Since despite her fiery ambition Gillibrand has not distinguished herself, she, too, is vulnerable to a tough Republican opponent. The problem is that the Republicans have no such candidate and New Yorkers are too smart to vote in a Republican majority who will oppose Obama’s policies. Also, you can bet that Barack Obama will certainly show up to campaign for Gillibrand. Oh, and remember Pataki? The Republicans are trying to get him to run for the Senate. My bet is that he won’t do it. He is making too much money where he is and the Senate has really tough ethics laws that will make it very hard for him to live in the style to which he is accustomed. Schumer is a sure thing. He can’t lose his Senate race. In fact, there is speculation that he is in line to be the top dog in the Senate. That would bring a lot of pork back to New York state.
To be sure, the news is not all good for the Democrats. Tom DiNapoli is thought to be vulnerable and will have to fight hard to keep the Comptroller’s Office, probably against John Faso. The pathetic Democratic leadership in the state Senate has left that house vulnerable and if the wind blows right, the Republicans could take it back and cause even more of the gridlock that has made New York so famous. Their own piggery is now legendary and New Yorkers lose either way.
Originally Published in the Legislative Gazette, 9/4/09