Albany Coup Reactions: What Just Happened?

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Photo: Albany Times Union

According to main players of yesterday's coup — as it's being called — the overthrow of the Democratic leadership was all about reform (for more on what comes next, see Jacob Gershman's report). But while nobody doubts that the State Senate was dysfunctional, today's papers are pretty sure that new Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, new president pro tempore Pedro Espada, and the other Democratic turncoat, Hiram Monserrate, were motivated more by a basic thirst for power. Well, yeah, obviously.

• The Daily News editorial board says the coup "revealed Albany for the madhouse it has become, with the lunatics firmly in charge of the asylum." Skelos's claim that reform has come to Albany is "preposterous." They wonder "what promises Skelos made to buy the fleeting loyalties of Monserrate and Espada," and wish for "[a] pox on all their houses." [NYDN]

• Bill Hammond thinks the move had nothing to do with reform. "This was a GOP power grab, plain and simple," and Espada's "talk about fixing Albany is the thinnest of cover stories." Skelos only trusted Espada and Monserrate because "[t]hey were willing to join him. The only question is what goodies they extorted." Maybe Republicans really will "put their ill-gotten power to good use" with real reform, but we'll have to wait and see. [NYDN]

• Fred Dicker blames Smith and other Democratic leaders for bringing the coup on themselves. When the Democrats took power they "fired nearly 200 employees of the Senate Republicans, many of whom had considerable knowledge and skill." They promised reform but "treated the Republicans worse than the GOP had treated them." They divvied up pork-barrel member items completely disproportionately. And they refused to give Espada any "real power." And it's demonstrative of Smith's failed leadership that he didn't even see the coup coming. [NYP]

• The New York Post editorial board wonders if this is good for New Yorkers. While the coup was "final proof — as if any was needed — that Smith couldn't lead the Senate in any constructive direction," it "remains to be seen" whether "Skelos represents positive change," especially considering the promises he must have made to Espada and Monserrate. "Whoever winds up in charge, New Yorkers generally lose." [NYP]

• Dan Janison writes that the coup "proves Albany's foremost rule of operation: Grab whatever allies and power you can get your hands on." [Spin Cycle/Newsday]

• Elizabeth Moore believes that the realignment in Albany will return power back to Long Island. [Newsday]

• Rick Karlin says Paterson was a loser yesterday, "but things weren't going a whole lot better for the governor when the Senate was under Democratic control. He may end up seizing some moral high ground here." [Times Union]

• Steve Kornacki contends that the "defections of State Senators Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate to the Republican conference could end up, in the medium term, looking more like a blip than an earthquake." Both come from staunchly Democratic districts that will likely give them the boot next year, meaning they'll "still have a shot at retaining control of the chamber, of course, but the odds would be the same as they were before Espada and Monserrate flipped." [PolitickerNY]