Two Dems defect in NY Senate, control flips to GOP

What better way to complete a day in which Barack Obama’s economic policies lose the majority in a Gallup poll, Dems lose the edge on the GOP in a Rasmussen poll on economics, and the Supreme Court apparently blocks Obama’s dictatorial dissolution of an American carmaker than to highlight a “parliamentary coup” in Albany, NY?  Manic Monday turned literal in the New York state Senate, where Democrats Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate switched sides and gave control of the chamber to the Republicans, only five months after losing control of it:

Republicans appear to have retaken control of New York’s Senate after two dissident Democrats jumped the aisle in a parliamentary coup.

The flip of senators Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens gives Republicans a 32-30 edge in the chamber. Within an hour of the overthrow, Republicans named Espada temporary president of the Senate Dean Skelos of Nassau County vice president and majority leader. Skelos is the former majority leader.

WKBW uses some incendiary language in this reporting.  It’s not a “coup” at all; it was a leadership change accomplished through a democratic process, rather than a Democratic process.  Perhaps that’s why WKBW considers it a “coup” rather than a consequence of bad Democratic leadership.

The New York Times reports on the background, a little less breathlessly:

Why Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate suddenly defected on Monday afternoon was not immediately clear. Both men are under investigation by the authorities. The state attorney general’s office is investigating a health care agency, Soundview HealthCare Network, that Mr. Espada ran until recently. And Mr. Monserrate, who was indicted on felony assault charges in March stemming from an attack on his companion, would automatically be thrown out of office if convicted.

One source of contention among Democrats recently has been Mr. Smith’s support for same-sex marriage. Senator Rubén Díaz Sr., a Democrat from the Bronx, has been outspoken in his insistence that legislation allowing gay couples to marry not be allowed to come to a vote. Some had speculated he might leave the Democratic Party if Mr. Smith were to allow a vote.

But Mr. Díaz did not join Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate in the leadership vote on Monday. It was not immediately clear whether the same-sex marriage legislation played any role in the leadership dispute.

One person backing the revolt to put Republicans back in charge was Tom Golisano, the Rochester businessman and founder of Responsible New York, a political action committee that gave thousands of dollars to Senate Democrats last year to help them take control of the Senate, but who has become increasingly critical of the party. Mr. Golisano recently announced that he was moving his legal residence to Florida out of anger about the budget deal crafted in April by Democratic leaders in Albany, which included an increase in taxes on high earners.

Well, we could certainly award Mr. Golisano a Captain Louis Renault award for his shock, shock at Democrats hiking taxes and playing class warfare, but we’ll skip that for the moment.  It looks as if the people who funded the Democratic outreach to the center have become disillusioned, at least in New York, with the policies Democrats actually advance.  They ran on one set of policies and the Democratic leadership tried adopting a different set of priorities once in power.  The result isn’t a coup at all; it’s the normal palliative that democracy allows, that which allows the people to toss out bad leaders before they do any real damage.  In fact, that’s why we don’t need coups in America, and shame on WBKW for its poor reporting.