Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Shelly Continues To Make Malcolm Look Foolish Over MTA Bailout

Being Malcolm Smith must be tough these days. The man was thrust (willingly I might add) into a position of leadership that he wasn't quite ready to handle. His abilities were already in question before the Dems took power. Then his credibility was further damaged when he gave into the Gang of Three, then stood up to them, then sat back down. Now the budget battle and the connected M.T.A. bailout saga is consuming him and in comparison to Shelly Silver's tight ship in the Assembly, he looks like an amateur.

From PolitickerNY:

ALBANY—Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is calling the March 25 deadline for the M.T.A. bailout "questionable" and saying that while his members are "working on it every day" there is no consensus on a package to address the authority's deficit.

A few reporters caught Smith on the way to an event on reforming Rockefeller drug laws. He didn't say why he is questioning March 25, but spokesman Austin Shafran said the deadline is "artificial because it came from the M.T.A. board."

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, however, after speaking at the same event, said "I'm not going to engage in a game of chicken."

Silver said March 25 is a "hard and fast deadline." He then pointed out that he has put forth the "only proposal on the table."

That is quite a rebuke of the State Senate Majority Leader's talking points. Of course, Silver has had this job forever and with a much more solid majority, so that makes things easier. Still, Smith has not done himself any favors in the last few months when it comes to a test of wills and principles. If he would have held firm with the Gang of Three Three Amigos at the end of last year, perhaps Smith wouldn't have to beg the five Democratic Senators who are causing him trouble to stay in his corner for this. Instead, he has to make excuses such as belittling the deadline...excuses that no one is really buying.