Interesting news out of the state of New York. Not sure if you’ve been following this over the last few weeks, but there has been a recent fued over control of the state Senate. Most observers thought a compromise had finally been reached; that that appears to have died. Here’s the gist:
1. Republicans had control of the NY Senate for a long while. That changed this election cycle, when Democrats won enough seats to take the majority.
2. As required, the Democrats then needed to vote for their Majority Leader, presumed to Malcolm Smith. However, three of the Democratic members of the Senate signaled that they would NOT vote for Smith, their own leading party candidate. The 3 Senators refusal to vote for Smith means that a Republican my actually be elected leader of the body, even with more Democratic members.
3. The “Gang of Three,” as the dissinting Democrats were dubbed, cited one reason why they could not vote for Smith to lead their party: He planned to bring a bill to the floor to allow gay marriage. Oy, not again.
4. Ultimately, the leader of the gang was appeased by Leader-to-be Smith by giving him a leadership post and offering some concessions about bringing the gay marriage bill.
5. But now, that deal is dead, mostly becuase Leader-to-be Smith decided to reduce the powers of the leadership post offered to the gang leader.
I did a poor job summarizing the somewhat complicated scenario. But, much more can be discovered by following this blog and chasing the links.
I bring this up now, because it is an example of a single official using leaverage when in a politically key position for individual gain. The leader of this gang was actually not even yet a Senator, he has just been elected. And undoubtedly, he realized that his vote for Senate leader provided him with more power than he’d likley have in the future. Thus, he chose to leaverage that specific power for personal gain. I doubt the gay marriage thing was the catalyst here…instead its like being a speculative investor. Using limited power on a risky bet in an attempt to secure more political power in the future.
This is the mirror of yesterday’s news: Using a vote/decision (entrusted to them by the public) to gain personally.
This New York scene is the example of the legal power-brokering that goes on everywhere, everyday in the game of politics. Trust me, it happens in some form at your city hall meetings too. The Blagojevich shenanigan is the example of the illegal (and stupid) form.
Neither one is particularly savory.