I’ve written several times (most recently here) on the soap opera in the New York State Senate. The quick-and-dirty is this: while Democrats finally won numerical superiority in the Senate on election day, three dissidents refuse to back the Democratic leader and are instead flirting with Republicans. With the Senate set to meet and organize on Wednesday (January 7), it’s still unclear what these dissidents will do.
With that as background, the New York Daily News reports today on the efforts of Senate Republicans to win the support they need to maintain their control over the body:
Meanwhile, Republican leader Dean Skelos, who is desperately trying to finagle a way to hold on to the majority leader’s post, is getting help.
The Senate GOP’s deep-pocketed allies in organized labor have taken up Skelos’ cause.
He has asked leaders of the health care powerhouse 1199 SEIU and the AFL-CIO to meet today with the Gang of Three in hopes the union bigs will persuade the Democratic lawmakers to cast their lot with the Republicans.
The SEIU? The one headed by Andy Stern? The same one that’s mentioned in the same breath with Rahm Emanuel, Rod Blagojevich, ACORN, and other liberal lions? If New York Republicans were wondering why they’re continuing their slide toward irrelevancy, they need look no further than moves like this. Let’s assume for a minute that Skelos and the Senate Republicans get the return they’re hoping for — and secure control of the Senate despite holding a minority of the seats. What sort of return do you suppose the SEIU and AFL-CIO will expect for their intercession? Here’s one guarantee: it will be a return that conflicts with the core Republican message of smaller government, lower taxes, and less regulation.
New York Republicans point to their relatively friendly relationship with unions as one reason that they are occasionally competitive with Democrats in the state. However, it’s also the reason that New York Republicans generally offer voters an echo rather than an alternative. And as has been said, if you offer people a choice between a Democrat and a Democrat, they’ll pick the Democrat every time.
Maybe if Republicans lose control of the Senate — their last lever of power in New York — they’ll recognize that allying themselves with the SEIU and other unions isn’t the path pack to power.