Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An Open Letter To The Independent Democratic Caucus

Dear Senators Klein, Savino, Carlucci, and Valesky

Hi. How are you doing? I know you've had a fairly good year. You started the "Independent Democratic Caucus" and got lots of press attention. Nice. You also all got committee chairmanships in exchange for basically voting with the Republicans on every procedural issue in the Senate, including a State Constitutional Amendment to create an independent redistricting commission that would only go into effect for the 2020 redistricting period, thus totally screwing over the good government ideals you claim to hold oh so dear. Well done. Gold stars all around.

Now the New York Daily News is reporting that you've taken this alliance a step further.

The Daily News has learned Senate Republican bosses have agreed not to put up — or fund — strong candidates next year against the four Democrats who created their own independent caucus this year. 
The four rogue Democrats will not back current Democratic leader John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) or Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) for majority leader if the Dems take control of the chamber, the source said. 
I think I've seen this movie before. Let's go over how it ended for each of the conspirators.

Pedro Espada lost the Democratic Primary in 2010, lost his seat in the Senate, and is now under federal inditement for embezzlement and fraud.

Hiram Monserrate was convicted of slashing his girlfriend, got expelled from the Senate, and lost the subsequent race to regain his open seat by a fairly substantial margin. 

Carl Kruger is under federal inditement for bribery.

Ruban Diaz is the world's biggest homophobe, but has exclaimed on multiple occasions that the reaction to the IDC proves that the reaction to the "Gang of Four" was partially driven by racism against Hispanics.

Now I hate to say it, but Diaz might just have a point. The "Gang of Four" was all about hostage taking, and enriching themselves and their power, but they shrouded their selfish intentions in a woven cape of racial empowerment. You all have no standing here. You all represent White, suburban style districts. And you are saying you won't vote for John Sampson, a Black Senator. That really doesn't look good.

The only point that you might have to stand on is the illusory notion that you are supporting "bipartisan governing" and "good government" in general. Except you aren't. On multiple occasions you enabled the Republican Majority to take naked power grabs, as in the case of stripping the Lieutenant Governor the ability to break ties, and delaying the creation of an independent redistricting commission until 2020, as a gerrymander is the only way the Republicans can possibly  maintain power in New York State.

Plus, bipartisanship should not be the end for you. The goal should be progressive governance, inclusive governance, moral governance. The goal should be better schools, better infrastructure, better higher paying jobs, equal opportunity, racial equality, a greener environment.

The modern Republican Party wants none of these things. Even in blue New York, the Republican Party stands in the way of progress. They want to cut taxes for the wealthy, while increasing the burdon on middle and working class families. They will choke money out of our schools and our public transit to line the pockets of the fortunate few. And they'll do it with a smile, and your consent.

The last basion of Republican power in New York is the Senate. If we break them here, we break them in New York for a generation. We can truly see a progressive era come to New York. But all you want is personal power, at the expense of the principles you campaign for, and were elected on. You forgot the Democratic part of the Independent Democratic Caucus. If you don't want be a member of the Democratic Party or the Democratic Caucus, I'm happy to show you the door. And so will thousands of other progressive activists.


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