The mind boggles.
There were the Democratic leaders of the New York State Senate, holding a press conference to deliver the good news that the party members had reunited, and were prepared to actually begin working on matters like ... passing bills. Keeping Yonkers from going bankrupt. Allowing New York City to go back to training new police officers.
Right in the center of it all was Sen. Pedro Espada, D-Bronx, who has been, according to a letter he wrote to his colleagues, on a "historic, unprecedented journey for reform government."
That's useful information, since virtually every other person in the state was under the impression he was holding the government hostage in an effort to see how much money and power he could personally milk out of the situation.
In the press conference, Espada's attempts to explain why the journey to reform required him to bolt to the Republicans (who made him Senate President) and then return to the Democratic fold (with the new title of Majority Leader) were not very enlightening. At one point he seemed to be claiming that he had spent time in the GOP in an effort to educate his suburban Republican brethren about what life was like for poor urban Hispanics. Those must have been interesting classes, given the fact that Espada's actual residence is a $700,000 house in Mamaroneck.
Espada made sure his longtime allies, who dub themselves the Four Amigos, had ample preening time before the cameras. There was Hiram Monserrate, currently under indictment for attacking his girlfriend with a broken glass. And Ruben Diaz, best known for threatening to desert his party if it dared bring up matter of gay marriage. Espada's elevation to majority leader, Diaz said, was a great day for Puerto Rican New Yorkers - "the greatest achievement our community has ever gotten."
Take that Judge Sotomayor.
The rank-and-file Democrats were mainly absent from the room when the leaders were busy congratulating themselves for coming together. You couldn't blame them if they were all back in their offices, curled in fetal positions and whimpering pitifully.
The bottom line, as they well know, is that the party has regained its razor-thin majority in the senate, which it will be able to keep as long as no one on their side feels he or she could get a better deal by pulling an Espada. And that they are now stuck with a leader who none of them would trust to send out for coffee.
On the blog front, NYU President John Sexton looks back on Walter O'Malley's dastardly decision to take his beloved Dodgers to la-la land. It's well worth a read.