It’s “Super Andrew” to the rescue
Andrew Cuomo is threading the presidential needle and it’s not impossible that he could take it all the way. If you’ve ever played pinball, you know that it is almost impossible to win. Either you run out of those silver balls or you tilt the machine. But, sometimes you beat the odds and win. Recently, Hillary Clinton reiterated that she is not running for president. Her husband, on the other hand, hints that she may indeed run. If she runs, Andrew is out. If she doesn’t, Andrew is in the game and may make it “…to the show” (from the film Bull Durham).
Andrew has to play one brand of politics in New York, where he has an ungodly unemployment problem and needs Republican businessmen to help him out, and another role on the national stage. When they took the roll of those in favor of giving the working people a little pay raise in the form of a minimum wage hike, he was nowhere to be found. Now, however, he is willing to enter into an unholy trade with the Legislature as in, “We’ll give you the pay raise you really, really, really want (and don’t deserve) and you’ll give me the increase in the minimum wage that this Democrat needs in order to run on the national stage.” As a famous boxer was once reported to utter, “It’s just business.” Not pleasant, but reality.
But wait, there’s more proof. After being strangely silent on the Obama campaign, we now see Andrew announcing that he will tour the country in the waning days of the election, fighting like hell for the president. Top staff people tell me that Obama asked him to campaign and he is now doing just that. But where was he up until now? Who knows what the shadow knows, but here are a few ideas. Bill Clinton, a major mentor in Andrew’s life, may have just told him that people will remember if he ducked this election. Democratic state Senate candidates all over New York are furious that Andrew has done more to help elect a Republican state Senate than anyone else. After all, he didn’t keep his word on vetoing the self-serving reapportionment bill that allowed Dean Skelos to draw his own districts. He has endorsed Republican candidates who helped pass the gay marriage bill, further assuring that the close race for the state Senate would go to the Republicans. Finally, it appears according to some polls that Obama may lose and that brings the race not to 2016 as everyone thought but to 2012, right now, when the next election begins. Suddenly, like Clark Kent changing into his Superman costume or the Hulk being stung, Andrew is forced into a more aggressive position. He can’t afford to sit this one out. Four years from now, everyone would remember that he was sitting quietly on the bench.
After all, Bill Clinton is leading the way. Obama has no greater surrogate than Clinton, who has reason not to forget Obama’s close victory over his wife for the presidency, yet is still working like hell for Obama. So now it’s “Super Andrew” out there on the hustings, eating rubber chicken and other poisonous stuff his significant other would not approve of.
If there is one thing I am certain of, it is that when a Cuomo gets into a race, he stays there. I should know. When everyone thought that Mayor Koch would win his gubernatorial primary against Mario Cuomo, I wrote a column entitled, “Meet Governor Koch.” Daddy Cuomo had no money and no substantial backers yet he prevailed in an incredibly inspiring race, with Junior Cuomo running the campaign. These are lessons inscribed on your soul. You simply hang in there and keep slugging. Hey, if you win, you win but you don’t give away the field. It’s all a matter of balance. Maybe he will get away with his moves on the state Senate. You can’t deny that a 70-something approval rating shows that the man knows how to play the game. Right now, he has even retreated on fracking, at least for the moment. He’s always thinking.
Originally published in the Legislative Gazette, 10/22/12