In the absence of major Pinstripe Politics news to report for the past week, a few thoughts on New York politics....
New York’s politicians are embarrassing New York
Last year when Eliot Spitzer’s transgressions first hit the limelight, New Yorkers felt, among other emotions, embarrassed. We had trusted the “Sheriff of Wall Street.” In our minds, he had become Albany’s great ethicist savior. “Could it get any worse,” we wondered, “than having a law-obsessed governor get busted for transporting prostitutes across state lines?”
Our elected officials have responded with a resounding “Yes!”
Quick question: what’s the only thing grimier than an Albany Democrat? If you answered, “an Albany Republican,” then you’re right.
After losing majority control of the Senate last November, for the first time in over four decades, Albany Republicans were desperate. For God’s sake, if they didn’t act fast, the Democrats were going to let gay people get married! If only they could convince two Democrats to switch sides, they could regain the majority and thwart those rascally voters. Perhaps in exchange for switching sides, they could award one of the Democrats with the Senate Presidency. But who would do such a thing?
Pedro Espada Jr. and Hiram Monserrate. That’s who.
New Yorkers are familiar with these guys already. We remember Monserrate from his arrest last year, on charges of assault, for allegedly slashing his girlfriend’s face with a broken drinking glass during an argument.
Espada, we remember, is the guy who owes the New York State Finance Board $60,000, has not reported his campaign contributions to the New York State Board of Elections, and is under investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office for possibly funneling state money to himself through a nonprofit he runs (it’s shocking how many New York politicians get caught employing this scheme).
The Republicans were so desperate for control of the Senate that they would actually let this guy be Senate President (that’s one step below Governor right now).
A Quick Note: I interviewed Espada while he was running in the Democratic Primary last year (against an even more corrupt incumbent), and I asked him about charges by his opponents that he was a “closet Republican.” He replied, “I’m in lock-step with Barack Obama in terms of the need to change.” At the time my thought was, “what the hell does that even mean?” Now I think I know. It means, “I’m just saying and doing whatever I think will give me the best shot at rapid ascension.”
NOTE: Make sure to check back every Wednesday for Pinstripe Politics, your source for that gray area where the Yankees and society converge. Also, check in with the BNN on Fridays for The Yankees, Unobstructed, our weekly Yankee opinion column.
For more of Graham Kates' sports writing, check out his True/Slant blog "Coaches in the Crosshairs" (www.trueslant.com/grahamkates).