The on-the-record criticism of the very concept of the Independent Democratic Conference today is being stepped up by Sen. Mike Gianaris this morning in which he wonders if the four breakaway lawmakers aren’t leading the Senate down a slippery slope to parliamentary dysfunction.

“Why these four people?” Gianaris asked rhetorically in an interview on Susan Arbertter’s Capitol Pressroom show.

Gianaris pointed out that lawmakers who represent similar regions — western New York, Long Island or even his home borough of Queens — could simply break off and form their own separate voting bloc.

“What’s to stop the LI nine from a group of senators saying we should have a separate caucus?” he said.  “This takes us to a very dark place. The fact is people get elected on a certain party line, they expect people to caucus with that party.”

It’s true enough, though, that regionalism does play a role in the Senate and its members tend to vote with colleagues who come from the same part of the state often because their interests line up.

The IDC members, however, do not come from the same parts of New York: Jeff Klein is from the Bronx, Diane Savino is from Staten Island, David Carlucci is from Rockland County and David Valesky represents the Syracuse area.

The IDC would likely insist that they’re not an arbitrary conference, but bound by an effort to push policy in a non-political fashion.