Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Gang of Three Stooges

Gina: You will show me The Stooges?

Jerry: I will show you The Stooges.

New Yorkers don't need Jerry Seinfeld to help them identify the state legislature's Three Stooges. They are Pedro Espada, Carl Kruger and Ruben Diaz.

Known as The Gang of Three, these Democrats have refused to vote for Senator Malcolm Smith as the incoming Majority Leader even though their party won control of the Senate on Election Day for the first time in over 40 years.

For New Yorkers who have never heard of this legislative Gang of Three Stooges, here's the shorthand on their tainted reputations. Among Democrats.

* Senator-elect Pedro Espada is a con artist, a bumbling phony and suffers from delusions of grandeur.

* Senator Carl Kruger is a forgettable legislator with a history of cutting deals that satisfy his Lyndon Johnson-like narcissism.

* Senator Ruben Diaz, a leading Democratic opponent of gay marriage and abortion, is so utterly clueless he doesn't understand why he's in a party that despises his position on those issues.

The Gang of Three Stooges are hustlers. Minus the eye-pokes, ear pulling and smacks in the face.

Even by sleazy Albany deal-making standards, the Gang of Three Stooges are brazen. They should be joyous about the end of the 43-year long reign of Senate Republicans. They're not. What each Stooge cares about is: what's in it for me?

We now know the deal they negotiated with Smith last week collapsed because of its absurdity. Stooge Espada as a Potemkin Majority Leader, Stooge Kruger as Senate Finance Committee Chairman and Stooge Diaz extracting a promise not to bring gay marriage to the floor for a vote (which wouldn't pass if there was a vote).

These are duly elected New York State Senators and they behave like infantile 8th graders angling for the class presidency. Unfortunately, we don't have the power to recall state legislators in our Empire State. If there is ever a campaign mounted for recall legislation, Espada, Kruger and Diaz should be the poster boys for it.