"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Can or Will NYS Senate Democrats Repeat 1964-65?

Can Malcolm Smith and Company manage their leadership role better than the 1964-65 Democratic majority that mismanaged their time in the majority, which resulted in a brief 9 month time as majority?

The infighting this year is reminiscent of the 1964-65 era and the conditions are eerily similar, then Lyndon Johnson was swept into office in a landslide victory just like Obama this year. Robert F Kennedy, who much like Hillary Clinton being referred to as a "carpetbagger," was Senator.  

The current Minority Leader of the Senate Democrats was Joseph Zaretski, who aspired to be Majority Leader, but Kennedy and the state Democratic Chair William McKeon had a different opinion.

The battle ensued between factions aligned with Kennedy-McKeon who backed Julian Erway for Majority Leader while a faction organized by then New York City Mayor Robert Wagner back Zaretski.

Erway gained the support of 19 out of the 33 Democratic Senators while Zaretski had the support of 14, but four Senators refused to unite behind one person, therefore neither had the votes needed to become Majority Leader. 

In January, the Senate was gaveled to order, but several attempts were made to rectify the leadership issue but to no avail. Therefore, the Senate had no president pro temp and they could not organize and conduct business.

The situation was finally resolved on February 3rd when Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller stepped in and delivered 25 GOP Senators who voted for Zaretski. The voters had grown tired of the dysfunction by then and the Democrats lost the majority in the next election.

Malcolm Smith is experiencing the same tenuous situation this year and has all he can do to hold a fragile majority together. This year has all the makings of a 64-65 repeat.

If they need a history lesson on it, they should look to none other than an expert - Alan Hevesi, who did his doctoral dissertation on the issue.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

And Rocky used the exercise to consolidate his power over both houses of the Legislature, a feat unlikely to be repeated by our likeable, but not especially competent current governor, as Bill Hammond notes in his column today.

Jacob said...

Smith is taking far too longer to get his conference in order. He looks weak.

Anonymous said...

11:45 I don't know if I would question the competence of the Gov. I hope it will all depend on whether or not he can force cuts to the budget. I don't give him much of a chance, not in the face of the teachers and other special interest groups, but lets hope the man can pull it off. I figure he's got another year. By then, if nothing happens, we'll all be in deep doo.

Jacob is right on. I don't know what Smith is. No one really seems to care.

Chaos rules said...

The Times, Daily News and Times Union blogs all are reporting that the Malcolm Smith-Gang of Three axis may be crumbling. Stay tuned...

Dan Francis said...

I don't know about repeating those years - I was in VN in 65.
Having said that, this issue does not help matters. To wit:

A classic case of overreacting ...

ALBANY, NY — The state Senate Education Committee is considering a four-day school week as one option in a flexible academic calendar designed to save money.

That reminded me of one of my fav stories - it goes like this:

* The CEO of a large Texas dog food plant was waiting to speak to the workers of his plant about their declining sales and thus, the profit.

He started by warming up the crowd with this pep talk:

“Who has the best damn workers in Texas,” he screamed.

“We do,” the crowd shouted back.

“Who has the best damn plant in Texas,” he shouted

“We do,” the crowd shouted back.

“Who makes the best damn dog food in the world,” he screamed.

“We do,” the workers screamed back.

”Then how come our sales and profits are so damn low and in the crapper,” he asked in a cool, calm voice.

There was complete silence.

Then a tiny voice from the back of the room said:

”Cause the damn dogs won't eat the damn dog food.”

The Moral of the Story? Don’t blame the dogs for not eating the dog food, and don't blame the kids for not learning if the teachers are awful or the resources are insufficient or lacking!

~ dmf

Anonymous said...

Don't change the subject, Daniel. Student performance was not an issue in this last post, and you know it. Have the courage to stay on topic. My point centers on spending.

We have been shoveling money into the education machine. We have no more money. We have to reform our spending habits.

I know there is a knee jerk reflex to support aspects of the eductional complex, even when that element was not being discussed.
Its part of the community peer pressure folks feel.
Please, think independently.
Try to resist.
Thanks.
It will help us have a more reasonable discussion.

As far as "resourses lacking", we should leave humor for another thread.

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