Ken Lovett has a piece out today reporting Governor Cuomo's power grab over education policy is aimed not just at the teachers unions and teachers but also Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the Assembly Dems:
Gov. Cuomo’s warning last week that he will try to grab greater control over state education policy was seen as a shot across the bow of not just the state teachers union, but also their political godfather—Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” said one top political operative. “It’s setting up a big fight.”
Lovett reports that Shelly's up for a fight this time around:
During the past four years, Silver has been mostly deferential to Cuomo, his fellow Democrat. But with Cuomo’s popularity not nearly as high as it was, he could be willing to go to the mat in an education battle with the governor and Senate GOP, insiders say.
“In some ways, this is what he likes,” one said. “He likes to be the one guy against two. He’s a better counter puncher.”
Lovett has one "insider" tell him that some of the more ambitious items on Cuomo's agenda - like subsuming the power of Regents appointments into the governor's office, may be head fakes meant to use a bargaining chips for lower hanging fruit - like getting the charter cap increased or the teacher evaluation system "strengthened."
But another insider tells Lovett Silver and the Assembly Dems may not negotiate with Cuomo the way they have in the past:
But one Democratic insider warned the Assembly may not feel they need to cave.
“Don’t forget, this is not 2011. The members don’t like this guy,” the source said.
That's exactly what I wrote last week when it became apparent that Cuomo was looking to take as much control over education policy as he can - it's not 2011, he's not particularly strong politically (42% job approval, 57% job disapproval ratings in last week's Siena poll), and he's got a lot of enemies who would like nothing better than to stick a political shiv in his ambitions.
Let's hope the "insider" who is telling Lovett Assembly members may not feel the need to cave to Cuomo like it's 2011 is right.
Because Sheldon Silver and the Assembly Democrats are all that stand between us and destruction.