SOMEONE IS GIVING CUOMO GOOD ADVICE
Someone is giving Andrew Cuomo good advice. He is out there, taking on all comers on media outlets of all sorts. In contrast with Donald Trump, who is avoiding the tough questions, Andrew is looking pretty good. It turns out that the guy actually has a sense of humor although like his late, great father, that sense of humor may get him into trouble. For example, he often quips about his brother, Chris. As we all know, relatives can be quite sensitive and as Freud is reported to have said, “There is no joke.”
In a recent conversation I had with Andrew, he playfully referred to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, citing my friendship with DiNapoli as we were discussing the possibility of raises for legislators. When I reiterated for the hundredth time that they should get a raise but be prohibited from taking outside jobs, he jumped to agree with me but took a shot at DiNapoli who sits on the commission that will decide the matter. Cuomo knows full well that he had to sign off on the deal to create the commission. In the past, he has always agreed about the congressional ban on outside work. In our radio conversation, he said “I agree with you Alan Chartock.” He even suggested that we write an op-ed together on the subject. He couldn’t resist taking a shot at DiNapoli, who I consider to be the best man in state government. In any case, it was plain that Andrew was having fun with me.
It is so important to remember that Cuomo both competes with his late father, the three term governor of New York, and takes instruction from the example he set. Mario, of course, was one of the greatest fake out artists in the history of the state. He knew that as long as he was a viable presidential candidate, people would take him seriously as governor. Once he told people that his White House aspirations were pie in the sky, I suspect he was sunk when he decided to run for a fourth term. After all, there is a certain amount of statewide pride when your guy is aspiring to the top job.
Andrew knew from day one that winning a third term was going to be difficult. So, he has to position himself to run for president. It was no mistake that he just pulled down one of the top jobs in the National Governors Association. Interesting, since Andrew Cuomo has really never been known for playing nice with his fellow governors. Of course, the fact that he won so overwhelmingly in his election as governor had to be impressive to his fellow executives.
So is Andrew really running for president? Here’s the way I see it. He only wins among New Yorkers if he does what Mario did and positions himself as a serious contender for the White House. It is unlikely that he will want to run for a fourth term, although if you follow the “he competes with his father theory,” it might be tempting to show everyone that he could run and actually win a fourth term.
I doubt that he wants a corner office in some highbrow law office somewhere. Naturally, some Democrat might want to put him in their cabinet even though he has already done that at HUD for the Clintons. So unless someone wants to make him Secretary of State or Attorney General (remember Jeff Sessions?), that scenario is not going to happen. Maybe Secretary of State since he already speaks a foreign language — he speaks New York with a Queens accent.
So Andrew has absolutely nothing to lose by playing the presidential scenario and no matter what he says, he will do that unless there is some secret in his closet that we don’t know about. You never know, right?
Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected]