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In Praise of Sheldon Silver

March 19, 2010

Periodically, it becomes quite fashionable for pundits to kick around ole’ Shelly Silver. He has too much power. He’s been there too long. He’s an obstacle.  He’s secretive.

NT2, which is sure to have some pointed criticism of Silver in the months ahead, has, at this moment, nothing but admiration for the man. Why? It’s because he’s the only one standing the way of a complete melt-down in state government.

To wit, this past week, Silver was on a mission. Behind the scenes, he was shopping his version of a budget deal. His message to the fragile majority in the State Senate was this: “You know we have to make some tough decisions. Do it now. Get it out of the way. The longer you delay, the worse it will be and the harder it will be to muster the votes.”

The details of the budget deal Silver was shopping aren’t known. It’s a safe bet that it is ugly. It’s sure to include heavy borrowing and not enough in the way of spending cuts. What Silver understands, though, is that you can’t expect too much from the Democrats in the Senate at this point. Silver also understands that even if you had the best budget in the world, the Senate Republicans would vote against it. That’s because they’ve made the sick, but smart calculation that the worse state government looks, the better their chances are in November.  

Right now, Silver is the only person in government with the ability to think strategically. The budget deal he’s shopping may not be pretty, but it’s the best hope for averting a crisis. Lawmakers would be wise to follow his lead.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2010 2:05 AM

    I couldn’t have written this post any better, literally. Another BA post, keep up the good work.

  2. April 7, 2010 4:40 PM

    Is this theme free or not? I’ve looked all over for it but can’t seem to find it at

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