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Gross political incompetence


It’s not just that Hochul didn’t have the votes lined up for LaSalle — critical Dem allies literally told her he was the only potential nominee they would find problematic:

Late last year, Gov. Kathy Hochul sought the input of New York’s most powerful labor unions as she weighed a critical decision: who to appoint as chief judge of the Empire State’s highest court.

The freshly elected Democrat offered up a list of potential candidates for her labor allies to consider. According to three sources with knowledge of the discussions, there was only one name on the list that bothered them.

That name ended up being the one that Hochul announced as her nominee: Hector LaSalle.

From labor unions to abortion rights groups, key Democratic constituencies came out of the woodwork to oppose LaSalle, currently a high-ranking state judge, as Hochul promoted his nomination.

The concerns centered on what critics described as LaSalle’s conservative bias on such issues as abortion access and labor rights—leaving Democrats to wonder why Hochul would install him at the top of a court that had a conservative majority for much of the reign of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Despite the backlash, Hochul plowed forward with LaSalle’s nomination. She applied “the Cuomo playbook without the Cuomo power,” as one former New York lawmaker put it.


The drama has thrown the New York Democratic Party even deeper into chaos. Notably, the fight has defied the typical progressive-versus-establishment paradigm of party fights: Hochul’s moves have ruffled almost every corner of the Democratic “big tent.”

Across New York, Democrats marveled not just at Hochul’s apparent miscalculations so far but her apparent willingness to throw gasoline on the fire by suing the State Senate.

“She’s the governor, she has incredible amounts of power, and she’s gonna do a lawsuit against the legislature?” the strategist said at another point with an audible sigh. “Come the fuck on. It’s just pathetic and looks so weak.”

Whatever you think about Cuomo — and you should think very badly! — if he was going to do something like this he would have had the votes in his back pocket before the nomination was even announced. I don’t know why she wants to die on this hill but it’s incredibly stupid on every level. It’s like a blogger who thinks that Obama could have gotten single payer by sitting Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson down and telling them to cut the bullshit actually became governor.

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