So what now?
Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo is well on his way to selecting the top officials in his future administration. Since he's actually had the entire campaign season to devote to the talent search, you'd figure that's reasonable. While Carl Paladino was self-destructing, Cuomo had enough time to pick the cabinet, write his inaugural speech and redecorate the governor's mansion.
But then there's the legislature, the land of total disarray, where the hopes and plans of all New York governors shipwreck.
Right now, the legislature seems headed toward even more disarray than usual. The Assembly is solidly Democratic, since the state is deep blue. But thanks to decades of gerrymandering, the Senate leans Republican. Right now, as recounts continue in several districts, it's teetering. Maybe one party will have a sliver of a majority. Maybe, God help us, it'll wind up divided 31-31. While the lieutenant governor could break the tie on procedural matters, something like a budget could get caught in the partisan divide forever.
You have to wonder whether Cuomo is hoping the Republicans eke out a majority. His father ran the state rather happily with a Republican Senate. Legend had it that Mario liked it that way, preferring to have the Republican Senate keep the Assembly Democrats from overspending. But the truth was that neither party was what you could call fiscally conservative. They just had different pet causes they preferred to shower the state's cash on.
One thing's for sure. The Senate Democrats don't deserve to run the show. After years in the minority, they took control two years ago, and the result was a disaster - chaos and corruption, under the leadership if the same people who are running the party now.
That leadership was severely embarrassed (again) shortly before the election by a scathing report from the state inspector general that showed how the Senate leaders helped to rig the award of a lucrative contract to build New York City's first gambling casino to the Aqueduct Entertainment Group, an outfit long on political connections and short on gaming expertise. (Among other things, confidential bidding information was leaked to an AEG lobbyist who wound up taking the Fifth when questioned about the matter.)
The Republicans have a better record, in the sense that they haven't been caught trying to sell the store. But both parties are overburdened by a top-heavy group of party regulars who are, if not brain dead, at least brain severely disabled.
But there are a handful of real public servants on each side of the aisle - honest, sensible, smart Democrats and Republicans who've managed to keep both their energy and sanity in a place that doesn't really reward either quality.
Maybe, miraculously, they'll create an alliance that can force one party or the other into working with Cuomo to guide the state through the mess that's going to come. If they could remake the Senate, it would force the Assembly to come in out of the cold of special interest partisanship.
Gee, maybe things might actually work. Doesn't hurt to hope.