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May 13, 2015

Not everyone can hack the hard core world that is state politics and government today.

Silver can. Deposed, he won’t quit. He sits in the back of the chamber and seethes. He lives for the day when he can testify and tell people how crazy it is to think that a grant for cancer research could be a bribe to get a client referral nine years later.

So can Libous. They investigated him for seven years and the best they could come up with was a charge that he lied when he said he didn’t remember how his son got a job. Then they went after the son and charged him with nine counts of which two counts stuck. It’s a tax offense for which an ordinary person would have to re-file and pay a penalty, but the son is going to jail for it. Libous struggles with both cases and with cancer and complications from back surgery, but still he won’t give in.

And then there’s Skelos. He’s not steely like Silver and Libous. He’s a mess. He can’t think clearly. Over the weekend, he dissembled to the point of telling colleagues that if they forced him out, he’d quit and they’d lose their majority. Only after everyone reassured him that they’d stand by him did he relent, but this isn’t a situation in which anybody thinks he’ll have the stomach to continue the fight. He’ll make a deal with the Feds. He’ll do anything to make it easier on himself and his son.

Something similar happened with Brian Meera. He’d had it good for a long time and was approaching retirement. Even though he didn’t think he’d done anything wrong, he wasn’t going to take a chance. He made a deal to protect himself.

What are we to make of all this? Well, on the one hand, the Assembly and the Senate are better off.  Clearly that is true. Silver stayed way too long. The Assembly had ossified. Now it has energy and vitality again. And the Senate, under Flanagan, it, too, will be a far more open and dynamic place.   Flanagan has even quit his law firm gig – which is real progress due exclusively to Preet.

Preet is to be praised for raising the whole “monetization of the office” discussion, which clearly wouldn’t have occurred without him. And yet, who is not troubled by some of Preet’s tactics?  Grandstanding. Prejudicial comments in public.  And all the claims that are, at best, a stretch.  Each of his cases has them, including the latest. Skelos was said to have switched his position on fracking to help his son’s company. Hasn’t it occurred to anyone that Skelos had nothing to do with the fracking decision? No role whatsoever.   It was entirely in the hands of the Governor.

But it almost doesn’t make any difference because there’s no real check on Preet. And here’s the bottom line: If he could make cases against Silver and Skelos, he surely can make one against Cuomo. Think about it – Cuomo raised more than $60 million over the last six years. Nobody raises that much without having, at a minimum, appearance problems. And then there’s the way Cuomo and his top people have conducted themselves. No, none of them personally profited, but did they make dubious deals to get things done? Did they look the other way on things when it had utility to do so? Did they employ all manner of leverage on lawmakers? Of course they did. These are people for whom the ends (many times very good ends) justify the means.

Preet, most likely, will make a case against the Governor.  And it won’t matter one bit that the Governor recently lost his father and that his woman has cancer. Preet simply doesn’t care.

Preet apparently believes that the only way things will really change in Albany is if all the leaders are taken out and there’s a fresh start.  Ironically, just like Cuomo, the means don’t seem to matter to him.  Personal costs don’t matter. Nor does the fact there’ll be disruption. The only thing that matters is the outcome. And maybe Preet is right. Maybe this has to happen to finally clean up state government.

Maybe Kathy Hochul will surprise us all as Governor. Maybe … and then again maybe not.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    May 13, 2015 12:58 PM

    Flanagan is a clear improvement over Skelos. Heastie is almost as bland as Silver, but he has decentralized control. So both chambers are better off, as you say. But Hochul as Governor? That’s not reassuring.

  2. Loose Cannon permalink
    May 14, 2015 2:24 AM

    “Preet, most likely, will make a case against the Governor. And it won’t matter one bit that the Governor recently lost his father and that his woman has cancer. Preet simply doesn’t care.”

    And he shouldn’t. Has Andrew shown concern for the over 25% of kids in poverty in many areas of NYS?

    Nope.

    Has Andrew shown concern for the hospital that essentially vanished, leaving swaths of Manhattan-ites with little access to a hospital?

    Nope.

    The stars are karmically aligned against Andrew, he’s made so many enemies he has few “friends”. Is this undeserved or harsh that you wonks think he deseves some kind of sympathy pass?

    Nope.

    More: Hotchul has stated privately she’s not interested in the job post-Cuomo for any longer than it takes to stably transition thru the (and yes kids they are!) coming indictment(s). There is quite a bit Mrs. Hotchul… whom I remind you is married to a federal prosecutor WDNY… is aware of she’s not going to discuss or telegraph to people not in the loop.

    You guys are pretty good at reading the tea leaves but I’d suggest getting better at recognizing where all this is coming down from… and why. Do you not see the external alignments going on over all their heads?
    If I wasn’t aware… I’d suspect you guys are stuck in the narrow, disbelieving Albany-centric view on all these not-so-unrelated arrests and machinations on the part of our good friend Mr. Bharara. You’re not alone. Not a year ago an acquaintance of mine sent a certain Albany reporter a literal roadmap of the events of the last 6 months and looking ahead another 90 days from now.

    It was dismissed as “over the top” and ignored. As are that reporter’s eMails now when they turned up in his inbox. Do not be so afraid. What has happened, and what is coming very soon now is as clear as day if you are looking at this correctly.

    Good luck, interesting blog.

  3. May 14, 2015 3:30 PM

    This is a smart analysis, as are so many of your writings…but to refer to Sandra Lee as the governor’s “woman” is so…words fail me. What’s wrong with “girlfriend?” “Woman” makes it sound like he owns here, and, FWIW, she not only is arguably more successful and better than than he is, but she makes vastly more money, and he’s living in her multimillion dollar house.

    • May 14, 2015 3:31 PM

      Since I can’t edit…that would be “owns her” and “better known than”…thanks.

    • Anonymous permalink
      June 5, 2015 10:23 PM

      Apologies, I hadn’t written it realizing how insensitive it was to the more sensitive. It was more of an inference to how I feel he sees all women and no so much meant as any opinion on her. Her success: noted.

      -Loose

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