Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Dems Fighting Words!

GOP Declares “War” To Hold On To State Senate

Does anyone get the feeling that no longer is it what the constituents want (was it ever?), but, “what can one party or the other do – in desperation or otherwise – to hold on to power?”

Oh, the games they play in Albany – and in their own districts back home – pretending they care about anything more than the next election.

Loyalty to State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno?

Humph! How about showing some loyalty to the people who elected our State Senators in the first place? [Most, here on Long Island, anyway, would say to cut Bruno loose.]

Frankly, we owe no more allegiance to the aging icon of the Senate chamber than we do his silver-tongued counterpart in the Assembly.

Neither have done much more than to maintain a stagnant status quo, throwing mere table scraps to Long Islanders, when they allow us “downstaters” to dine at the table at all.

If it seems, at times, that our elected representatives are delusional, perhaps its not really them, but us. [As in, “we’ve seen the enemy, and he is us!”]

After all, we’ve been sending them back to Albany, to the County Seat, and to Town Hall, year after year, to do the very same jobs, and yet, somehow, we expect the results to be different.

Maybe its not delusion, but illusion. The illusion that we can maintain a democracy when only 20% of the electorate think it important enough to vote, or that by keeping the same people and/or party in office, ad nauseum, we can maintain control over the outcome.

If a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, then it is the fool who believes that an object not in motion (read as, your state or local legislator) can be moved to action by any other object not in motion (read as, the electorate).

The partisan bickering has to stop, as does the inbreeding of political dynasty.

If they, the elected, won’t cut it out, then we, the electors, must.

Can anyone say, “term limits?”
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Support for Bruno despite loss in 48th District

ALBANY - There will be no coup d'etat against Joseph Bruno - at least not for now.

That was the message Senate Republicans sought to convey yesterday after suffering a stunning special-election defeat in northern New York that cut their majority to one seat.

Bruno's rivals for Senate leader, Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre and Thomas Libous of Binghamton, pledged loyalty to him.

Standing shoulder to shoulder at a news conference with Bruno, they stressed the importance of unity after Tuesday's election of a Democrat in the 48th District for the first time in at least 128 years. Both acknowledged "losing a battle in the war" for control of the Senate - dominated by Republicans since 1965 - but predicted a comeback.

"There's been a lot of speculation over the years concerning my relationship with Joe," said Skelos, deputy majority leader. "The bottom line is we feel a responsibility ... to Joe as our leader, but most important, to the constituents we represent."

He praised Bruno, of upstate Brunswick, for recognizing the needs of Long Island. They've been partners since late 1994 when Skelos was instrumental in a coup that replaced then-Senate leader Ralph Marino of Syosset with Bruno.

Citing his first failed bid for the Senate 26 years ago, Skelos said yesterday that "you lose a battle but I ultimately won the war and this [Republican] conference is going to win the war."

Still, the GOP faces an uphill fight to maintain its one-seat edge over Democrats. Many incumbents are elderly or represent districts where Democrats now outnumber Republicans, political observers said. The 48th seat fell vacant with the retirement of Sen. James Wright (R-Watertown), and another Republican from Buffalo plans to leave at year-end. Bruno said he doesn't anticipate more departures. Like the 48th District in the state's northwest corner, Nassau's 7th District elected its first Democrat in decades, Craig Johnson of Port Washington, in a special election. That race a year ago was sparked by Gov. Eliot Spitzer's selection of Sen. Michael Balboni (R-Mineola) to be homeland security czar.

Skelos yesterday vowed to win back the 7th."We've always been known as 'The Long Island Nine,' " he said of the area's GOP senators who now number eight. "We're going to be back as The Long Island Nine and Craig Johnson is not going to be a senator after November."

Johnson shot back, "My response to Dean is what I tell my 3-year-old and my 6-year-old when they are having a temper tantrum, 'Take a timeout.' "

Bruno accused Spitzer of attempting to wipe out the Senate Republican majority by offering jobs and favors to incumbents.

Two targets - Sen. Joseph Robach, a Democrat-turned-Republican from Rochester, and Sen. John Bonacic (R-Mount Hope) - said yesterday they wouldn't defect. The sincerity of Bonacic's pledge, however, was questioned by some after he was seen later warmly congratulating Democrat Darrel Aubertine on his victory in the 48th.

Aubertine, a former assemblyman, credited his election in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than 31,000 to economic concerns - "the issues that are on the ground, that's what caused the voters to support me."

Told of Bruno's comment that a "war" was being waged for control of the Senate, Democratic leader Malcolm Smith of Queens replied, "It's not war for us."

Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.
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Next Up: A satirical review of the Academy Award-nominated film about an old man whose sole objective in life is to take brilliant ideas that would advance the causes of community and shoot them down like pregnant mosquitoes -- Bruno.

Would you believe, Bruno vs. Carrie Ann?

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