It’s a good thing the governor doesn’t read this column

So what’s really going on between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton? It is nearly universally accepted that Andrew Cuomo will make a bid for the presidency in 2016. While he denies it, he invites comparison with his father who he says, “…peaked too soon.” To me, that means that Andrew has no intention of peaking too soon. Andrew has said that he finds all this talk about his running for president “distracting.” No, I am sure Andrew never really thinks about running for president, probably not more than every second of every hour of every day of the year.

Meanwhile, something else is going on. An interesting group of people is encouraging the immensely popular Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president, despite her having said she’s done with politics. There is her successor as United States senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, for example. I know Gillibrand and I can tell you that she is one tough cookie. She is a hell of a smart woman who knows how to play the cards and I have never seen her make a political error. When she recently said she would be a charter member of the Draft Hillary for President Club, I think we can assume she knew exactly what she was doing. She also had to know that when Andrew Cuomo heard what she’d said, he would not be a happy camper. Gillibrand must have assessed the risk and figured it was worth it. To know Andrew is to know that all other politicians are seen as rivals and, in many cases, as the enemy. I suspect he learned that from his pop. Politics is a tough game and only one person gets to be president. Andrew is immensely popular in the polls. Nonetheless, the jury is still out as to whether the voters like him personally as much as they like what he has done in New York.

While Andrew may be popular with the people, I think it is fair to say that the political insiders aren’t exactly crazy about him. Maybe that’s why Gillibrand was recently joined by fellow Democrat Sheldon Silver, the sharpest, smartest and slyest politician in politics, when he issued a forceful seeming- endorsement of Hillary for president. When pressed, Silver said that Andrew was good as well. We know the Senate Democrats, who are in the minority, don’t like Andrew. They will probably stay in the minority because of Andrew’s support for the Republicans in the state Senate. Andrew is anything but a progressive Democrat while those Democrats in the state Senate are old-style tax the rich Democrats.

A third person with encouraging words for a Hillary candidacy is none other than Bill Clinton who says he hopes that she will change her mind and run for president. Now I ask you, would he do that without his wife’s tacit support? We know that Hillary says she will not do a second term as Secretary of State and she has said she won’t campaign for President Obama. That sounds like she wants to clear the boards to run. If the state and national polls are telling us anything, it is that Hillary would mop the floor with Andrew in a head to head confrontation. Of course, it’s still very early and we do not know why Hillary has said that she wouldn’t run. But the tea leaves are all suggesting that a Clinton candidacy is what the people and the political community want. Hey, it’s a good thing that Andrew and his people don’t read my column.

Originally published in the Legislative Gazette, 5/7/12

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