With Friends Like These, How Long Can the Republicans Hold On to the Senate?

Democrats waited 40 years to win back the state Senate and now, just five months after finally securing control, it’s been snatched away from them again. So it’s only logical that they’re furious. But they should really take a breath, because—while they will have a clear and profound impact on the workings of Albany through 2010—the surprise defections of State Senators Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate to the Republican conference could end up, in the medium term, looking more like a blip than an earthquake. Of course, that’s not the attitude of Malcolm Smith, whose spokesman called the maneuver that will cost Smith his majority leader’s perch “an illegal and unlawful attempt to gain control of the Senate and reverse the will of the people who voted for a Democratic majority.