| 11 Nov 2014 | 02:12

    I have been warning you for some time now that the Democrats in the New York State Senate have the innate ability to screw it up. Back in the 1960s, Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a presidential landslide. Things went so blue in New York that for one short year the Democrats took over the State Senate. Mayor Wagner"s forces fought Senator Bobby Kennedy"s forces to a standstill. The Democrats couldn"t pick a leader, and the impasse dragged on for what seemed like forever. Voters saw the Democrats as a bunch of bumbling fools; and within no time, the Republicans were back in the political saddle. The question is whether history will repeat itself. This time, Barack Obama swept a Democratic majority into the State Senate and a so-called Gang of Four has emerged. Its composition included three Latino members who said, basically, that Hispanics in their body were being, well, dissed. In the gang we have Senators Ruben Diaz, Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada. The fourth member is a guy named Carl Kruger, who runs as a Democrat but behaves like a Republican. For some years he has been eating scraps at the Republican table and has been aptly nicknamed, â??The Bad Kruger to distinguish him from the â??The Good Krueger, a brilliant East Side Democratic Senator. For his perfidy, Carl â??The Bad Kruger was given the Chairmanship in the Republican Senate of the Social Services Committee, something he very much wants to hold on to. There have also been overtones from the Gang of Four that are decidedly racist. That"s because the leader of the Democrats is Malcolm Smith, an African American. Diaz, a member of the gang, said, â??There is concern that we have a black President, a black governor and we have a concern that we have to be sharing power. If the Democrats don"t get it right this time they will properly be the laughing stock of New York. Democracy will be thwarted because the Republicans will go back to pigging it up, giving their members everything while throwing scraps to the Democrats and redistricting themselves so that only they can win. All the promises of reform we"ve heard from the new Democratic majority will never see the light of day, and that will include things like a new, improved environmental agenda with an expanded bottle bill and more gay rights. Democracy will have been thwarted by a rogue Band of Four. Finally, the Democrats had better be damned sure to follow Assembly Leader Silver"s lead and have an upstater as their number-two person. Nothing less will be acceptable. The right man for that job is Sen. Neil Breslin of Albany. Alan S. Chartock is president and CEO of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio and an executive publisher at The Legislative Gazette.