And I Thought Texas Politics Was Entertaining…

Michael Giberson

Have you been keeping up with the news out of Albany, New York? On Monday, with the support of two Democratic state senators the minority Republicans voted themselves back into the leadership positions. Democrats tried to prevent the maneuver by, among other things, turning off the lights in the Senate chamber, and having failed to prevent the vote, filing lawsuits and locking the Senate chamber doors and refusing to turn over the keys.

The more you read about the story, the better it gets:

  • the move was fomented in part by a billionaire who spent heavily to help the Democrats seize control of the Senate last November and then was “angry to hear they were now planning to raise taxes on the wealthy” (cite);
  • The billionaire, Tom Golisano, reportedly supported candidates he felt would work for a “more open political culture in Albany,” but became frustrated when his substantial financial contributions didn’t seem to get him the full attention of the new Senate leadership when he visited the state capital (cite, cite);
  • New York Governor David Paterson’s first response to the leadership vote was “I will not allow this,” though he has no authority over senate organization (cite);
  • subsequently Paterson urged the senate to settle the leadership dispute and get back to business, arguing that the senators should “think of the lobbyists” who have worked so hard on their issues (cite);
  • one of the defecting Democrats is under indictment for felony assault (cite), the other has been plagued by legal troubles throughout his political career according to a New York Times profile. (cite)

“Send in the clowns,” you think? Don’t bother:

Nearby, amid the crush of camera crews, a clown dispatched to the Capitol by The New York Post added to the carnival atmosphere. (cite)

Who needs to read Christopher Buckley novels when you have real politics like this?