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Friday, February 4, 2011

Andrew Cuomo vs. the special interests

by Bill Claydon

I didn't vote for Andrew Cuomo, but it was a foregone conclusion he was going to win. While there are many positions he has with which I disagree, I must say that I find his economic statements to be interesting. If he means what he says, all I can say is that the special interests are really in a pickle. This is going to be a prize fight to watch, but the stakes are even higher with Cuomo being a Democrat and basically the "figurehead" of New York Democrats. But hey, disgraced ex-NY governor Eliot "the Steamroller" Spitzer told us during the election that Andrew Cuomo has brass knuckles. (Oh and it should be mentioned that Spitzer made this announcement just as his CNN show was about to be launched. A nice contrived political firestorm is always good for ratings.) I'm going to enjoy watching this as a conservative.

Cuomo has already announced that the overly expensive sob story propaganda ads on television put out by the big unions will not deter him. Whenever there is talk about a cut in one program or another, suddenly these ads pop up on television. Gosh, they are expensive. One would think if the various special interests have all this spare money floating around to run television ads, they could just roll that back into the programs near and dear to their hearts.

It almost would have been better for the special interests if Carl Paladino had won. They could have a free for all running numerous ads vilifying him, calling him the scourge of the earth, making him into their virtual punching bag, complaining about Republicans, etc. They could have raised tremendous sums in donations from people just by bandying about Paladino's name. They could have had a field day with a Paladino governorship. Had it been a narrow victory, he would have been a great boogeyman for them.

But, wait, what's this? A liberal Democrat is in office now, a member of New York's political dynasty (his father Mario Cuomo was a three term ultra leftist governor) no less, and he is claiming he is NOT going to play ball with, or be a puppet of, the special interests? How dare he!! For too long, Democrats were basically joined at the hip with the big unions and other massive special interests driving costs in New York out of sight. Where can they go now? 2014 is a long way away. And even so, they can't get behind a Republican. What do they have left? The Green Party and Howie Hawkins? Or perhaps his ideological twin Charles Barron who also had a "tax everything" mentality in the 2010 New York Gubernatorial Comedy Variety Show, aka "Debate"? Hey, speaking of comedy, maybe Jimmy "Rent is too damn high" McMillan could be talked into changing his message a bit? "Cuts are too damn much"?

This is really entertaining. The special interests have to be a bit careful criticizing Andrew Cuomo, being that he is a Democrat afterall. Against the likes of Paladino, they had to support him. Criticizing him too much now would seem hypocritical. And yet he's at least talking about refusing to do their bidding. What can they do?

New York is on an unsustainable path. Too many people are without jobs and too many people continue to leave the state for others with less regulation, more efficient state governments, lower property taxes (that's practically every state other than New York), less welfare, more opportunities, and a host of other reasons. The special interests can get out their violins and spend millions to complain all over television, but fewer and fewer people will buy it. And worst of all, they have to spend this money with an elected liberal Democrat in office! My goodness.

Cuomo would not have to do anything if all he wanted was reelection. He could coast along, be friendly with everyone, do the bidding of the special interests, and win a landslide reelection as a Democrat and a sitting governor. But if he has any higher ambitions in mind for the future (like 2016 or 2020), he must make good on his statements. He cannot buckle. So, I'm going to get some popcorn and enjoy watching the epic battle between New York's entrenched political dynasty and New York's entrenched special interests.


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