Republicans Should Cross-Endorse Andrew Cuomo
Instead of putting themselves and some hapless sacrificial lamb through the paces this year, why don't New York Republicans cross-endorse Andrew Cuomo for Governor? Seriously.
Have you ever heard -- in your lifetime -- a more Republican-sounding nominee of a major party for Governor of New York? Channeling Ronald Reagan, yesterday Cuomo said -- literally -- that government isn't part of the solution, it's part of the problem!
Lieutenant Governor nominee Robert Duffy, taking a much-deserved break from multiplying the loaves and fishes, yesterday expounded the central tenets of the Cuomo agenda to the state Democratic Convention:
"Andrew has a plan: First, freeze state taxes; Number two, cap local property taxes; and Three, cap state spending -- and that's critical."Normally this kind of talk would get you kicked right out of the Democratic Party.
It also raises serious questions:
• How can Cuomo succeed with an agenda resolutely opposed by all core constituencies of his party?Nevertheless, the Cuomo campaign is articulating desperately-needed policy initiatives with more likelihood of creating public buy-in than any candidate for the Republican nomination. Unlike any of them, he has a better chance of getting them enacted, if he means what he says, than a Republican who managed to get elected.
• No matter who's Governor, Sheldon Silver calls the shots in Albany. Silver opposes all of this, so how can it get through? So far, Cuomo has not been able to answer that question.
• Is Cuomo's party tolerating all this Republican-speak because they know he's faking it, to get elected in the political climate du jour? Just doing the kind of shape-shifting we can expect from Democratic candidates across the country this year?
That's because New York's governorship, under current circumstances, bears similarities to a European constitutional monarchy. The King or Queen is Head of State, but has little or no ability to make law or effect change. All real power rests in the hands of Prime Minister Sheldon Silver.
In such circumstances a GOP candidate, if elected, would be consigned to four years of ribbon-cutings and fruitless speechmaking. Remember the Pataki era?
At least Cuomo, if he's not faking it, and if he can exert influence with his party's Assembly members, as even a dominant personality like Eliot Spitzer couldn't, has a theoretical chance of changing New York for the better.
In the 1980's, New York City Republicans cross-endorsed Democratic Mayor Ed Koch. We think 2010 is the year for the State Republican Party to follow their example. They could then focus on taking back the State Senate and eliminating the Democrats' veto-proof majority in the Assembly. Then, if Governor-to-be Cuomo means what he says, we might finally make some progress in the most backward state in the country.