Or how to lose your power in one easy step...
Yesterday afternoon, the Democrats in the New York State Senate got poleaxed.
For half a moment they stood like deer in the headlights, not quite realizing their fate. By the time they caught on, and literally ran out the door, trying to shut off the lights in the Senate chamber, it was over.
Somebody called a vote, the hands went up and the heads rolled.
The Democrats lost control of the Senate. More correctly, a little knot of Democrat bigwigs lost control of the Senate. Out in the hallway, the Democrat leader Malcolm Smith stood dumbfounded. After just five months on the job, one of the most incompetent leaders in New York history had been relieved of duty.
While the Democratic leadership was putting the final details on a massive annual spending bill that would have raided the treasury for their pet projects, Republican leaders were talking with a couple of wildcard Democrats.