11:54 am Nov. 26, 2012
On Monday morning, State Senator Mike Gianaris argued, once again, that the progressive agenda outlined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo would be best served by a Democratic majority in the State Senate.
"They're all issues on which the Democratic majority sides with him and the Republicans side against him," Gianaris said on Fred Dicker's radio show.
That's an argument that Cuomo, who has in a number of important ways helped the Republicans in their efforts to hang on to a working majority, has declined to make, or even address.
Asked last week which conference came closer to his priorities on a host of issues, Cuomo didn't answer. His usual line has been that he simply wants a Senate that functions (though he has also noted, pointedly, that Albany has functioned better in the time the Senate was run by Republicans) and also that it was be premature for him to say more before all the votes from the last election are counted.
If the recount of one outstanding race comes out in the Democratic candidate's favor, the Democrats would have enough votes to form a majority, if they could attract support from the four-member Independent Democratic bloc.
Gianaris, a de facto spokesman for the Democratic minority, avoided criticizing the governor.
"I think the governor is focused on the issues, much like during the campaign season he focused on the individuals, he wants results," said Gianaris, when Dicker asked about the governor's non-support.
To the extent that Cuomo has come in for any criticism over his position, it's been from liberals in the media, who, unlike New York Democratic officials, can give voice to their concerns without risking their careers.
Over the weekend, the New York Times editorial board wrote that Cuomo "may have to get involved as a mediator, pushing all parties to pick a reasonable leader who can work with him and both parties."
Chris Hayes, the MSNBC host who excoriated Cuomo on his show last week for not supporting the Democratic Party at home, urged future Democratic primary voters to remember this moment in four years.
After Cuomo reacted to the criticism from Hayes and Salon's Alex Pareene by calling it "hyperpartisan," Hayes restated his complaints on his show this weekend, saying the progressive issues he supports "have essentially no chances of passing if Republicans control the Senate, but do have a shot if Democrats control it. My point is that I’m sure a political mind as sharp as the governor’s recognizes that as well.”
Cuomo hasn't responded yet.
"All these people who are concerned with democracy, how about we count the votes first, and then we find out who won, and then we have an opinion about who should have won, and who should be in control," he said last week.
The Democratic candidate, Cecilia Tkaczyk, currently trails by about 920 votes, a loss that would put Republicans in the majority, after one newly elected Democrat, Simcha Felder, already announced he would caucus across the aisle.
But Gianaris said Tkaczyk still has a chance, with the final votes to be counted in Ulster County, where she won 61 percent of the in-person vote on election night, and needs about 62 to 63 percent of the oustanding ballots, according to Gianaris.
Her victory would mean Democrats control a numerical majority, with the four-person Independent Democratic Conference as the key bloc in either coalition.
Gianaris said if there were "some misguided Democrats who cross the aisle, then that's on them."
He wasn't talking about Cuomo.
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