Not to get all Chris Crocker on everybody, but when we read stories like Andrea Peyser's "Fumbles and Bumbles of Gov. Pipsqueak" in today's Post, we wonder if we're watching the same Albany circus as everyone else. Governor Paterson didn't start this mess — that would be Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate and he didn't perpetuate it. When the coup first took place, he pledged to work with whomever held legitimate power in the Senate. After Monserrate defected back to the Democrats, creating the impasse that continues today, Paterson gave the Senate time to figure things out on its own. But when it became clear that wasn't happening, and with some extremely important, time-sensitive bills hanging in limbo, Paterson began using the tools at his disposal to pressure the childish politicians into actually, you know, doing their jobs. That seems like a pretty fair approach to us. But to Peyser, "Governor Bumble's" attempts at leadership have been oh so funny.
"As for the senators, I will continue to deny their per diems and travel vouchers!" squeaked Gov. Bumble. "I will call on the comptroller to not pay them a dime!"
So unpleasant. So non-threatening. And Gov. Bumble is a man who prefers to be loved.
So non-threatening? Maybe she missed the part when Democratic senators flipped out upon hearing they might not be paid for their three-minute mock sessions. Senator Kevin Parker lashed out at Paterson as a "coke-snorting, staff-banging governor." That sounds threatened to us.
Or take yesterday's Senate session, which elevated the art of farce to a new level. Democrats claimed that Republican senator Frank Padavan created a quorum when he momentarily cut through the chamber on the way to the lounge as they were gaveling in, and they began passing bills. Blame Padavan for his bad timing, or Democratic senators for their brazen exploitation of it. Or, if you're Andrea Peyser, blame Paterson!
Two minutes later, Paterson came back, looking as if he'd been kicked. As it turned out, Padavan (R-Queens) was making his way to the members' lounge, not voting with the Senate. Another whole day, wasted.
"I will not sign any legislation passed," said Gov. Bumble, looking as if he desperately needed that margarita.
As the capital sunk further into chaos, Gov. Bumble sunk further into incompetence.
How that episode speaks to Paterson's incompetence rather than the Senate Democrats' audacity, we have no idea. (Even they can't expect anyone to take the bills they pass in their pretend sessions seriously.) But Peyser is not alone. A new Marist poll shows that 49 percent of New Yorkers disapprove of Paterson's handling of the Senate chaos, compared to 43 percent who approve. Which seems strange, since you would think that Paterson's most highly publicized involvement in the whole affair namely, forbidding the Senate to adjourn for summer vacation until they finish the work that needs to be done, and winning court victories to force both sides to meet at the same time would be widely popular.
Our senators, not Paterson, are the ones who have acted shamefully. They could have ended this circus long ago, except that they're more concerned with their power and titles than the people they're supposed to represent. Paterson may be hoping to benefit politically from the chaos, but he isn't the ringmaster here he's the guy trying to pull the tent down, if only the clowns inside would finish their show. We wonder what else Peyser, or that disappointed 49 percent, would have him do.