To the editor:
The attacks upon Sen. Jeffrey Klein and the Independent Democratic Conference have grown tedious. I consider myself progressive, and probably support most of the same policies as the IDC bashers. But I reject the fantasy that all would be well if only the IDC would rejoin the mainstream Democrats.
First, let’s review the origins of the IDC. The Democratic senators had given leadership positions to Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate. To the surprise of very few, each of them got indicted and convicted of crimes. Following that, the Democrats made John Sampson of Brooklyn their leader.
Sen. Klein said he could not work with Sampson as leader, and he and a few others formed the IDC. Guess what happened next? Yes, Sen. Sampson was indicted and then convicted of corruption.
The question is not why was the IDC formed. The question is why did mainstream Democrats select a corrupt individual as their leader?
Now look at the state senate today. There are 32 senators elected as Democrats, and 31 elected as Republicans. But Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, who is not a member of the IDC, caucuses with the Republicans. So even if the IDC rejoined the Democrats, they would still be short of the majority.
I ask the opponents of IDC, why do they gloss over this fact as if it did not exist?
The IDC believes that it can accomplish more by caucusing with the Republicans than with the Democrats, and it has some achievements to support that position. I have no way of knowing whether progressives would have achieved more or less had the IDC caucused with the Democrats.
Sen. Klein has served our district well. If, after a future election, the senate Democrats could achieve a majority with the support of the IDC, I would hope the IDC would support them. Until then, I have no problem with Sen. Klein and the IDC caucusing with the Republicans.