Governor Cuomo — the leader of the pack

The adventures of Andrew continue. The newspapers featured a wonderful photo of Cuomo this week. There he was, sitting on his Harley with sunglasses and helmet and a sort of self-satisfied motorcycle smile on his face.

Before I create an uproar, let me remind you that I was born in 1941 and I just don’t get it. I’m a product of a time when we used to watch Marlon Brando films about motorcycle gangs that came into a town and took over, scaring the entire populace. Now I have millionaire friends who ride their bikes and who have tattoos.

What was interesting about this particular photo was that he was surrounded by other notables, entertainers and lawyers and stuff, but his glistening bike was different — it featured the symbol of his executive office right on the front. It could have been entitled “The Leader of the Pack.”

Let’s face it — the guy has some guts. In some ways, it’s a kind of libertarian streak. Let people do what they need to do. Like millions of other Americans, he is living a different kind of life. He has (horror of horrors) a girlfriend with whom he lives and she is helping to raise his kids. While some members of the clergy in his own church have been unkind about his lack of marital status, along comes the new Pope who basically instructs his priests to lay off and start to think about how to use their pastoral abilities in the act of ministering to people rather than being the man with the stick all the time.

We all know that like his father before him, Andrew is not prone to let political criticism go unanswered. When I suggested in the past that Andrew was responsible for Republicans controlling the state Senate, I have reason to believe that he wasn’t happy. He knows that he’s a suspect for playing footsie with the Republicans in the state Senate and keeping them in power and if he’s going to be president, his party is going to want to know why he helped the Dean Skelos crowd stay in office.

Cuomo was recently accused of not being in political sync with Bill de Blasio, the presumptive next mayor of New York, because de Blasio says he is opposed to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Andrew is not stupid. He practically flew down to New York to put his arm around the new redistributive mayor. The point here is that Andrew knows what he has to do to win one of the toughest games in town. In his new libertarian guise, he has styled himself as a no-new-taxes man. Perhaps the right wing journalists see this as an opportunity to turn the two men against one another. If Andrew wants to run for national office, he can’t be perceived as less than a true Democrat.

There will be time to fight with de Blasio later. In the meantime Andrew will get on his motorcycle as the leader of the pack. Ed Cox, the dynamic chair of the Republican Party, told me that he’s been speaking to a number of people who might want to run against Andrew in 2014. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve heard that kind of talk before. The one guy who might actually beat Cuomo is Mike Bloomberg, and after you’ve been mayor, you really don’t want to be governor.

Right now, Andrew is hitting the curve. He’ll sit there and read everything and micromanage his government. He’ll size up every opponent and potential opponent. My advice to the guy would be to cool it or he’ll fry his always-active brain. However, you can’t deny that he’s good at what he does.

Originally published in the Legislative Gazette, 9/26/13

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