New York's Bush League Democrats

From Hillary on Down, Pro-War Pols Expect to Pay No Price

The state's other powerful Democrat, Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, has been silent on the war, though he did nothing to support a detailed anti-war resolution circulated by Brooklyn assemblyman Jim Brennan and signed by 23 other Democratic members. Brennan sent the resolution to all assembly Democrats on February 27, and Silver never signed it. State Senator Tom Duane was also supposed to circulate the resolution, but didn't.

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller bottled up an anti-war resolution in a council committee for nearly five months, but then signed on to a milder version in February, helping to steer it through by a 31 to 17 vote. Miller's East Side mentor Maloney continued to back the war in a Voice interview last week and two other East Side Democrats, Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz and Assemblyman Jonathan Bing, ducked the resolutions in their houses. Should Mike Bloomberg—who also never took a position—bow out after one term, Miller may well wind up running for mayor against City Comptroller Bill Thompson, who has yet to say one word about it. Adamantly pro-war congressman Weiner is also a possible candidate.

Queens councilmembers David Weprin and Melinda Katz, who led the fight in the council against Miller's tepid resolution, are already maneuvering to succeed him should the courts deny him a chance to extend his term past the end of this year. While a sense-of-the-body resolution on war isn't usually a measure of a mayor or speaker, the disproportionate impact of this war on the city, increasing the threat to it and diminishing federal resources needed for its recovery, makes the issue as much a municipal matter as it is a moral test.

Research assistance: Cathy Bussewitz, Alexa Hinton, Felicia Mello, Solana Pyne, E.B. Solomont, Steven I. Weiss

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