Albany’s Sausage Stuffing Festival

December 6, 2011

Take your pick, today was about making sausages or lemonade, or both, in Albany.  It was one of those Albany mega-deal days when everything happens at once after months of nothing, and a week or so of furious backroom deal making. In his video message to the public Governor Cuomo says “We are New Yorkers. Give us lemons and we will make lemonade.” He seems to be talking about bad economic times and Washington gridlock. But, the double meaning is his ability to produce political winners out of the kind of super-secret “Three men in  a room” deals he decried as a candidate. The reality is that Andrew Cuomo is a true master of Albany’s dysfunctional political culture in which public transparency and participation are viewed as nuisances, and obstacles to actually getting things done.  And, to his credit, Cuomo does know how to get things done, and satisfy important constituencies. He also knows that tomorrows headlines are going to be about income tax reform, and cuts to the MTA’s Payroll Mobility — not backroom deal making, and rubber stamp voting. Albany loves feast and famine lawmaking  because it makes public scrutiny and accountability almost impossible.  The press doesn’t have enough space to cover all of the bills and agreements being reached, and the public doesn’t have the attention span to parse through a dozen complicated things at once. Who does? Sausage and lemonade, it’s tonight’s nutritious dinner in Albany.