Maybe by scaling back his demand for over $600 million in cuts to school aid by half was the fatal sign of weakness that invited the counterattack, but the state senators who have been remarkably slow about trimming the budget united against Paterson with great speed. Democratic leader John Sampson (pictured) and Republican leader Dean Skelos now stand shoulder to shoulder to oppose the Governor’s recklessness. “Give us a chance to think about it,” Sampson pleads. “This is not the old Soviet Union,” asserts Skelos. He’s right, of course — the Soviet Union has already collapsed.