The beginning of the end for 21 year Speaker of the New York State Assembly, (and, arguably, the single most powerful man in the state) Sheldon Silver, was last week, when he was arrested and charged with taking almost $4 million dollars in bribes.
On Saturday, I blogged that this could be the beginning of the end of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo\’s presidential aspirations as well.
The reason? Because it appears – we don\’t know for sure, but it appears – Cuomo summarily shut down the Moreland Commission, which he himself set up to find government corruption in, just after Silver agreed to budgetary concessions he would not otherwise have been granted; presumably in return for Cuomo deep-sixing Moreland before the investigation got to where Silver would be taken down.
Again, I emphasize that we don\’t know any of this to be true. No charges have been brought and no evidence has been presented. But that is the way it looks and smells.
And now we have this, excerpted from article in the New York Post:
Facingintense pressure to step down, Sheldon Silver has agreed torelinquish his enormous powers as Assembly Speaker to a 5-mancommittee.
Undera deal being finalized last night, Silver will become a virtualfigure head on Monday, as he cedes the iron control he has held overlegislative matters in the State Capitol for the past 21 years.
Itis not clear if he will actually give up the title of Speaker, andsources said the deal to cede control will be declared “temporary,”meant to only last while he fights charges of kickbacks andcorruption filed last week.
If there is any validity to the look and smell of what happened with the Moreland Commission, this could be huge trouble for Cuomo. Because it means the guy he put himself out on a limb to protect, will not have the power to return the favor.
Personally, I think of Governor Cuomo as an arrogant, nasty character…. but one who gets things done, and who is not afraid to cross ideological party lines for legislation he believes in. I might not like him personally, but the presidency is not a congeniality contest. I respect Governor Cuomo\’s capabilities and admire his ability to get results.
Put another way, if I were voting in New York\’s Democrat primary, and my choice were Andrew Cuomo or the accomplishment-less Hillary Clinton, Cuomo would get my vote 100 times out of 100. As an independent (which is what I have always been), he would stand a good chance of getting my vote in the general election
But none of this changes the fact that, if the Sheldon Silver story blows up into a national one (which, if we had anything remotely approaching a neutral media, it would have already have done), Silver\’s downfall could end things for Cuomo right there.