Monday, May 24, 2010

Crowning Cuomo

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo took center stage last week as he launched his campaign for Governor and became more transparent in his mission to shape the New York State Democratic ticket for the 2010 election.

Cuomo for Governor

Andrew Cuomo announced his intention to seek the office of Governor of the State of New York last week. He hit on fiscal themes in his enveiling: spending restraint and caps on taxes.

In an online manifesto, Mr Cuomo pledged to clean up Albany and to get the state’s fiscal house in order by immediately imposing a cap on state spending and freezing salaries of state public employees as part of a one-year emergency financial plan.
He said there would be no increase in personal or corporate income taxes or sales taxes and local property taxes would be capped.

Cuomo is not expected to face any serious opposition in the Democratic Convention this week in Rye, and his place as the unofficial leader of the Democratic party is becoming more clear. He's now beginning to focus on helping to determine which Democrats are on the ballot with him in November.

Cuomo versus Silver on the Budget

Cuomo's announcement included a declaration of war against the financial plan put forward by Lt. Governor Joe Ravitch and supported by Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver. Cuomo came out swinging against Ravitch's plan to borrow $6 billion to help fix New York State's cash gap and against Ravitch's plan for a review panel to guide our state to a balanced budget. Silver is known to support Ravitch's plans.

Cuomo's plan to cut 20% of state agencies is likely to create anxiety in Albany, especially for the Assembly Speaker.

Cuomo Looks to Shape the 2010 Ticket

As Cuomo leaves the Attorney General's office, he is focused on steering the Democratic Party in New York State to his preferred candidate to succeed him. The New York Times described the recent maneuvering.
In the weeks leading to the state Democratic convention next week, aides and allies of Mr. Cuomo have moved quietly and methodically to bolster Kathleen Rice, the Nassau County district attorney and the candidate widely believed to be Mr. Cuomo’s preferred successor. They have sought to delay or foil endorsements of one of her Democratic rivals, State Senator Eric Schneiderman, by two powerful labor unions, and to persuade another, Sean Coffey, to run instead for state comptroller. When rural Democratic leaders assembled in Niagara Falls this month for a straw poll, Mr. Cuomo’s allies also sought to blunt the momentum of Eric Dinallo the former state insurance superintendent, by asking party officials to consider switching their votes to other candidates.

Whatever one thinks of Attorney General Cuomo's fiscal positions and his dedication to Kathleen Rice's campaign (we should point out that Attorney General candidate and State Senator Eric Schneiderman represents Manhattan, including parts of Upper Manhattan), one cannot be opposed to Cuomo's eagerness to behave as a leader in the Democratic Party. The Democrats tend to be an unruly bunch, and anyone who works with sincerety to guide the Democrats to electoral success should be respected for the ambition and fearlessness reflected in the effort.

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