Governor Cuomo: Happy Warrior or Turncoat Democrat?

Three recent pieces about Governor Cuomo’s actions in the recent budget battle caught our eye.  The NYTimes outlines just how different his actions are from those of his father, the Albany Times Union compares him to Al Smith, and the Huffington Post makes the point that only Tea Partiers and Republicans are happy with the man’s recent actions.  

First up: The Albany Times Union.  Rick Carlin’s column draws a comparison between Governor Cuomo and that Happy Warrior from yesteryear, Al Smith.  Governor Smith, for those needing a brief refresher in NY State history, was governor of our fine state from 1919 – 1920 and then from 1923-1928.  Like Al Smith before him: Cuomo’s pleaded for a more efficient and streamlined state government, called for the elimination of redundant department and services, and made an effort to reach across the aisle to the Republicans in state government.

It’s a little difficult to argue against efficient and streamlined government, and hey everyone wants to make friends with people with different points of view, but the bit missed by the Times Union piece is what happened after Smith served as Governor.  He ran for President in 1932, lost the nomination to then-NY State Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, and soon Smith was a man with a message in search of an audience.  He vehemently opposed FDR’s New Deal legislation, preferring to side with business over the needs of the people, lost his relevance after the 1936 Presidential election.  No worry: It’s not like Governor Andy’s recently sided with the wealthy over working families, and it’s not like he’s thinking about the Presidency.

Next: The New York Times.  The piece outlines the current Governor’s actions have made him a hit with Republicans (so nice Sarah Palin and Andrew Cuomo have so much in common), but also outlines how far the man’s drifted from his own father’s wisdom, and how progressives have felt abandoned by the man’s actions:

The elder Mr. Cuomo spoke often of the state budget as a moral document reflecting the values of the state, saying at his first inauguration as governor that a “technically balanced budget that fails to meet the reasonable needs of the middle class and poor would be the emblem of hypocrisy.”

To which NYCC’s own John Kest adds:

“Candidly, progressives are quite disappointed with the governor’s budget,” said Jon Kest, a veteran organizer and executive director of New York Communities for Change, an advocacy group for low-income New Yorkers. “We will stand with him when his actions align with our values, but that is not the case today.”

Governor Cuomo’s take on all of this?  “Forget the philosophy. Here are the [budget] numbers” he says, “I am a progressive Democrat who’s broke”.  It’s not the budget that’s broke, Governor: It’s your sense of duty and your sense of right and wrong.  And we know this because you sided with millionaires over school kids.

Last up: The Huffington Post.  Here we read how “Andrew is teaching the Democrats in the state to act more like Republicans”, how the Governor “sounds like a Tea Party member when you hear him talk”, and how former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani says Cuomo’s “governing like a Republican” and “off to a very good start”.  Kids in schools located in working class neighborhoods beg to differ, but hey maybe Governor Cuomo’ll start listening to them when they A) are old enough to vote, and B) become millionaires.

We’ll wait.


About NYCC Capital Region

News, views, and activities from your favorite community organization, New York Communities for Change; with a distinctive Albany flavor.
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3 Responses to Governor Cuomo: Happy Warrior or Turncoat Democrat?

  1. Pingback: “A genuine crisis” in NY State Education | NYCC Capital Region

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