Saturday, July 11, 2009

The power of the having the marginal vote 

If you've been following the story of the New York State Senate clown show over the last month [one, two, three], well, things may finally be shaking out -- with a nice illustration for us all of how politics works ...


The chaotic state Senate stalemate came to a stunning end yesterday as two-time turncoat Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. of The Bronx double-crossed his GOP allies, returned to the Democratic fold -- and was rewarded with the post of majority leader...

Espada was demonized by Democrats during the past month as a "criminal" and an "extortionist," and he once vowed "never" to return to the party. Last night, he was introduced as the new majority leader under a deal that guaranteed him higher pay, substantial patronage, and power over the day-to-day operations of the Senate....

Espada, who is under investigation for funding related to a chain of government-subsidized Bronx health clinics he runs and over whether he resides in his Bronx district, will also get special access to millions of dollars in pork-barrel "member items" that will be doled out in his district...

"It was never about power, but about empowerment," Espada insisted... [NY Post]

Empowering Espada.

Get it: This guy has no seniority (is in the first year of his term, though he served a couple terms some years back), has double-crossed everybody in sight in both political parties, has been publicly damned by the Democratic senators, damned them in return, is under criminal investigaton ... and the state senate Democrats now have elected him their Majority Leader!

Why? Because he had the vote they needed to regain power.

What's politics about? Power. Not doing "what is right", but power.

Another fine example of what's been described here before...'s "First Law of Politics": Every elected politician truly and sincerely desires to do what is good and right for the nation and the people as a second priority. With the first priority being to get oneself elected and one's party in power, whatever hypocritical or scabrous behavior is required, the second priority be damned. Because after all, if one doesn't get elected and gain power, one can't do anything good for the nation and the people. QED.
There's another practical, profitable lesson for all in this as well: If you ever find yourself a voting member of a committee, board or legislature, set yourself up to be the marginal, swing vote. You'll do very well for yourself.

Just as all the United States Senators who right now are positioning themselves to be swing votes on Cap-and-Trade and National Health Care, issue by sub-issue, are sure to do.