Andrew’s troubled

There seems to be a long line of political folks whose names are being bandied about as opponents to Andrew Cuomo in a Democratic primary for governor. One can only suspect that “Andrew,” as he is universally known in Albany, has been developing a strategy to do what his father could never do, run for and win the presidency. Coming as he does from New York, in order to be accepted by the rest of the country, he would have to present himself as a fiscal conservative in the manner of Bill Clinton. What’s more, he would need a lot of money to run and Andrew is unrivaled in that department. He raised a fortune just to run for a second term as governor.

Alas, by reaching out to a potential national constituency, Andrew began to burn a lot of bridges in liberal blue state New York. Also, upstate New York, which had always been the more conservative section of the state, has problems with the man. Part of this is because of the SAFE Act (gun control), Cuomo’s best work, which affected conservatives the same way that fracking affected the liberal-environmental portions of his constituency. My bet is that Cuomo never knew how salient that issue was going to be with many upstate voters. With his well known penchant for immediately reacting to events, Cuomo passed the most liberal gun control effort in the nation, dragging upstate legislators along with him kicking and screaming.

This has proven disastrous not only for the Republicans who went along with it but for Andrew himself. It’s clear that he did so poorly against Zephyr Teachout in portions of the state because of the discontent of the upstate liberal voters and the pro-gun folks. The stench of corruption in Albany, which Andrew promised to clean up, has only gotten worse. It sure didn’t help Andrew when U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara took over the fight against corrupt public officials after Cuomo closed down the now infamous Moreland Act Commission. Despite the fact that many people seem to like him, the polls all seem to suggest that they think he’s doing a lousy job as governor because he is not doing what he said he would do.

As a result, we have seen some not so veiled “Maybe I’ll run” hints from others who think that Andrew may be failing. One of them is Eric Schneiderman, the state’s attorney general. You may have noticed that the modern route to the governorship seems to be via the AG’s office. Hence, Schneiderman would be next up. There are all kinds of signs that Andrew doesn’t really care for Schneiderman. The two have locked horns several times since Andrew took the top spot. There were those who thought that Andrew was trying to bring some of the AG’s powers with him to the second floor where the governor sits.

Then there’s U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, often thought to be tied to the hip with his mentor, Senator Charles Schumer. Where Andrew failed to clean things up in Albany, Bharara seems to be making real headway. In a head-to-head, my bet is that Bharara could beat out Andrew, but his problem is that you can’t be a politician and a prosecutor at the same time without losing credibility as the prosecutor. So, if he’s going to do it, it’ll be some time before he shows the slightest bit of public interest.

Finally, the State Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli, is extraordinarily well liked by statewide Democrats. He has done a tremendous job restoring confidence in the Comptroller’s Office and he has the guts to call out the governor when he is doing something questionable. For his part, Cuomo has bullied DiNapoli and people don’t like it. All of a sudden, people are talking about DiNapoli.

If I’m Andrew right about now, I’m taking some serious ibuprofen.

Originally published in the Legislative Gazette, 5/25/15
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