Mickey Kearns? Really?
The 15% of the electorate who turned out elected a Democrat running as a Republican whose only recognizable platform plank was to do battle with Shelly Silver? Kearns has said he’ll caucus with the Democrats – so Republican efforts to spin this as a victory will ring particularly hollow.
The New York State Assembly is a particularly malignant and useless construct. On the one hand, you have majority leader Sheldon Silver, who rules his Democratic caucus with an iron fist. On the other hand, you have a collection of the most useless political castrati – the Assembly Republicans. To call the Assembly a legislature is an insult to the notion of democratic representative lawmaking. To call a member “independent” is synonymous with “impotent”.
That’s why, when I have in the past advocated for a nonpartisan unicameral legislature, I’ve made it clear that we can’t just abolish the Senate and supplant it with the Assembly. Each redundant body is dysfunctional in its own way.
Yesterday I posted a perfectly benign reminder that an election was taking place and that people who live in that district should go out and vote. I didn’t endorse or attack either candidate, except to say that Kearns’ run as a “Republican” was, to me, inexplicable. Of course, I had some knuckle-dragging Republican attack me for that, and longtime commenter Starbuck, who is quite reasonable although I disagree with him, pointed out that it was “quite explicable” because of party bosses and giving people a choice and Sheldon Silver and Len Lenihan.
Yes, I understand that Kearns’ ambition would not be stopped by such trivial matters such as party loyalty or ideological consistency. Such is the nature of politics and politicians – win at all costs, even if you jettison your principles.
(By the way, if Carl Paladino and his insult billboardatorium really want to be rid of Sheldon Silver, perhaps he could help find, fund, and support a challenger to Sheldon Silver down in Manhattan. That might actually work.)
Chris Fahey isn’t a Higgins puppet despite his ties to Higgins’ office, and so what if he was? Brian Higgins is – and has been – among the best representatives of Buffalo and Western New York throughout his political career. While not perfect, he has done tremendous good especially when it comes to waterfront revitalization. Fahey is a bright guy and he’ll do great things – he’s a well-respected and thoughtful behind-the-scenes policy researcher and formulator – a wonk’s wonk.
Much was made of Kearns’ ties to Carl Paladino, but that support amounted to a few thousand dollars and a Palinesque Facebook post here and there.
The winner here isn’t Paladino, it’s Byron Brown, who has rid himself of another troublesome common councilmember. Kearns’ vacancy will be filled by the other councilmembers – and the council is now made up primarily of Brown allies, so Brown has an opportunity to further consolidate his control of the city’s policies. Probably one of those unintended circumstances we often read about. I suppose this indirectly benefits any Republican running in a countywide race, thanks to the longstanding, well-known but denied agreement between Brown and the GOP that no Republican challenger will come to the plate in November, thus suppressing city turnout.
Funny how similar it is to write about Erie County politics as it is to write about, say, organized crime.
The coverage of this contest was a ridiculous recitation of who’s ahead, who’s behind in the horserace. Aside from his rejection of Sheldon Silver, what’s Mickey Kearns going to do in Albany? Aside from his ties to Brian Higgins, what would Fahey have done there? Well, Fahey outlined a few plans he has to make the environment better for creating jobs. These guys deserved pointed questions about reform, Albany dysfunction, the Cuomo agenda, abolishing authorities, reduction of state corruption, etc. Instead, we got questions about party labels and who was whose puppet.
Being a maverick isn’t policy – it’s politics.
Congratulations to Mickey Kearns. I look forward to the analysis of his almost-inevitable rapprochement with Shelly Silver, or his switch to the Republican Party (one of these is going to have to happen if Kearns is going to accomplish much else besides becoming a master Sudoku player.)
Now, let’s see whom Paladino recruits to run against Higgins himself this November.