Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cuomo: New York Dems "squandered" opportunities


In an op-ed that's not likely to repair his relationship with Democratic legislators, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo revels in the notion that he swears no fealty to either party -- only to his agenda.

Neither the Republican nor Democratic conferences come to this juncture with clean hands. From 1966 to 2009, the Republican Conference led for 42 years and blocked much progressive legislation, including last year's efforts to increase the minimum wage, enact campaign finance reform and end the controversial "stop and frisk" policy.

The Democratic Conference was in power for two years and squandered the opportunity, failing to pass any meaningful reform legislation despite repeated promises. The Democratic Conference's dysfunction was legendary. The current leadership has failed to come to a cooperative agreement with Mr. Klein's IDC faction.

So, rather than base my support on amorphous and often misleading political labels, shifting coalitions or internal organizing concepts, I prefer to base my support — or lack thereof — on specific policy positions. As governor, I have specific programs and progressive initiatives that I believe must be continued or enacted. I will give or withhold my support based on an individual legislator's support of those issues.

He then lays out a "litmus test" of ten issues that you have to agree with him on to gain his support.

A couple things.

1. This is an op-ed that only a governor with a 72%-21% favorable rating and 62%/37% approval rating could write. I won't work with you; you'll work with me.

2. In case you're new to the controversy, Cuomo's taken heat from liberal activists for failing to support a Democratic majority in the New York state Senate. even endorsing some Republicans, and implicitly approving a power-sharing arrangement that robbed Democrats of a governing majority in the state Senate.

This op-ed, at first, seems like it might be a defense of all that, but really, it's more offensive than anything.

The big question is whether Cuomo's jumped the liberal activist shark here. Yesterday, Kos called him another Joe Lieberman, and the MSNBC's Chris Hayes and Salon's Alex Pareene have also ripped and warned him that he could be haunted by all this in a presidential primary.