Spitzer says the Senate coalition is ‘likely to breed chaos’

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Former governor Eliot Spitzer said the deal struck yesterday between Republicans and a handful of breakaway Democrats to share power in the State Senate won't make government more efficient.

"I think it's more likely to breed chaos than anything else," said Spitzer, during his weekly guest appearance on Inside City Hall.

"The question is will this work functionally or will there be so much tension" that an agenda has trouble moving, Spitzer said, noting "you have a very fractured perspective" on a number of bills, like raising the minimum wage, school education and rebuilding storm-damaged neighborhoods.

During his brief tenure as governor, Spitzer worked actively to topple the Republican Senate majority. He hired Republican state senator Michael Balboni to join the administration, then campaigned hard for the Democratic candidate who replaced him, Craig Johnson. (Johnson lost his 2010 re-election* to a Republican, and is now is now the chairman of the political action committee formed by the Democrats who left the conference.)

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Cuomo has taken the opposite tack, working closely with Republican leaders, and approving a gerrymandered map that was supposed to help the party keep its Senate majority. The governor has insisted that the leadership of the senate is a legislative matter, beyond the purview of his office.

Former U.S. senator Alfonse D'Amato, who also appeared on the show, was more optimistic about the power-sharing deal. He said the group "can work and it will be functional."

Later, both men dismissed the idea that Hillary Clinton would be interested in running for mayor, despite reportedly receiving encouragement from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Nonetheless, they had nice things to say about it.

"I think she'd probably be an excellent mayor," said D'Amato, a Republican, about Clinton, a Democrat.

"it would be wonderful to see," said Spitzer. "She'd win in a heartbeat."

Absent Clinton, Spitzer suggested Bloomberg make a straightforward pitch for his preferred candidate, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, while D'Amato urged Bloomberg to keep his mouth shut.

Spitzer said Bloomberg should tell voters, "at the end of the day, the city is better off after the 12 years Mike Bloomberg has been mayor. She will continue what I have done. You don't like me for everything; nobody does. She's the one."

"It's straightforward," Spitzer said.

When asked if that pitch would work with Democratic primary voters, D'Amato said, ""No, I think you should keep quiet and say, let the Democratic voters decide, because I think he opens up that attack door."

Both Spitzer and D'Amato agreed that Quinn will have a problem with some voters because of her support for extending term limits, which enabled Bloomberg to stay in City Hall.

"That is the real millstone around her neck," said Spitzer.

*Updated to specify that Johnson lost in 2010. He won his first re-election campaign, in 2008.