Malcolm Smith's leadership position is twisting in the wind caused mostly by his own doing. It is too late for Smith to attempt to take a principled position by saying he is breaking off the talks and the Democrats are better off in the minority when he already cut a deal with the G.O.T. then publicly denigrated the deal that was cut with Gov. Paterson in the room.
Smith said -
“We are suspending negotiations, effective immediately, because to do otherwise would reduce our moral standing and the long-term Senate Democratic commitment to reform and to change. We believe that ultimately, we must do what is right for the people of the State of New York. Furthermore, real reform cannot and should not ever include limiting the civil rights of any New Yorkers. Those issues must be part of the legislative process."That latter part of that statement by Smith refers to the deal cut with Diaz to keep the issue of legalizing gay marriage off the agenda. Now after the deal that Smith cut is dead, he wants to spin it out there that he is a civil rights hero.
Gov Paterson was at the table when the deal was cut and Smith is leaving Paterson hanging and he is starting WW III between two factions - Hispanics and African Americans. Paterson cannot afford the loss of the Hispanic community for his own re-election. The bottom line is that Smith could not close the deal with the balance of the conference after he made the deals with the three.
Smith's leadership position is on life support.
Whether or not Smith should have cut the deal with the three to begin with is another debate, but regardless, he did and then he botched the deal.
Meanwhile, back at the rance the real issue of governing New York State still remains, New York is facing a projected $12.5 billion (and growing) deficit and the Democrats are moving no closer to solving the people's problems. Are the Senate Democrats just demonstrating they cannot handle the leadership role properly without all these distractions?