An art of politics is to create situations that force decisions; a ticking clock with a pending catastrophe. Unless Congress raises the federal debt limit the nation will not be able to meet their fiscal obligations: social security and Medicare payments will cease. Who will be wounded? The President, who refused to compromise or the Congress who forced the crisis? Or, will both sides negotiate a settlement?
New Jersey Senator Menendez refuses to sign a “blue slip” required to appoint an Obama appellate judge (whose significant other subpoenaed Menendez years earlier). Will the Obama administration find some perk to convince Menendez to relent? Or, will the press trash him?
Rahm Emmanuel is famous for proffering, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”
Mayor Bloomberg, with forethought, caused a crisis. After five months of negotiations he refused to agree upon a method to evaluate teachers, the Commissioner froze $58 million and the Mayor blasted the union in his State of the City address and threatened a number of policy issues anathema to the union.
The union can “just say no.” Expired contracts remain in effect until a successor contract is negotiated.
The Mayor’s policies require negotiating with the union or are vulnerable to legal challenges. Yes, the Post, the Daily News and the Wall Street Journal will support the Mayor and sharply criticize the union. For the union membership the Mayor is the devil incarnate.
A lame duck Mayor lays out sweeping changes in his 11th and next to the last State of the City message. His tenure is running out and his bold initiatives, while popular with the reformers – are dead on arrival.
The Governor, in his State of the State address criticizes the failure of the Regents and the unions to resolve their dispute over the state teacher-principal evaluation plan. He announces a Commission to review the plan, and duels with Assembly Speaker Silver.
On Tuesday the Governor will announce his 12-13 budget. The Regent/State Education Department has a number of specific requests: fund the January Regents, ELA exams in grade 9 and 10, more test security measures, reinstate middle school science and math tests. Will the Governor honor the requests of the Regents, deny the requests, or both deny the requests and make deeper cuts?
Does the Governor want to peel away part of the State Education Department and move them to the Office of the Secretary of State: the professions and cultural education?
Will the Governor utilize the teacher evaluation crisis to force a settlement on the unions, or, to increase his power by weakening the Regents?
What appeared like a stunning achievement in the spring of 2010, the Race to the Top victory, a shining example of collaboration has fallen apart.
The hundreds of thousands of teacher voters and their support in a range of other gubernatorial initiatives versus an increasingly discredited Commissioner.
We wait for the budget with anticipation.
Has Andrew Cuomo learned from Rahm Emmanuel?