This Sunday’s New York Times had a long look at Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to inject himself into races all around the country. The basic criteria, according to the piece, is that the mayor will endorse both Democrats and Republicans, but:
- Is concerned the rise of the Tea Party
- Likes Moderates/Centrists
- Likes candidates who do not villify Wall Street
On the first question, the reason why Bloomberg backed Cuomo is pretty clear, since Carl Paladino is the darling of the local Tea Party, and is pledging to cut government by 20 percent in his first year. On the next point, the question is a little murkier. Cuomo clearly ran as a lefty in 2006, with the full support of labor and the Working Families Party, but as run for governor as an unabashed moderate, urging the public sector unions, to take one example, to accept cuts in times of fiscal austerity. The final point however may be the most curious one for the Bloomberg/Cuomo alliance.
In the campaign policy book that Cuomo keeps touting on the campaign trail, he has a section called “Protect Consumers By Regulating Wall Street,” in which he says, “Over the past year, New Yorkers have endured the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. Many have lost their homes, jobs and life savings. At the same time, they have witnessed the very people and institutions that caused this nightmare receive unconscionably large bonuses and billion dollar bailout.” But all Cuomo proposes is consolidating the regulatory functions of the Banking Department and the Insurance Department into a single regulatory agency.
But as attorney general, Cuomo took aim at Wall Street. This piece in The Times describes Cuomo as giving “voice to disgust with the abuses and self-regard within the nation’s financial industry.” And here, our own Max Abelson quotes former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis of accusing Cuomo of playing the blame-game. And in 2008, New York’s Jessica Pressler said Cuomo was talking like a stern parent punishing children when he said about bankers who received bonuses, “Given this economic situation, how do you justify any performance bonus at all, is my initial point…When you incentivize that type of behavior, you shouldn’t be surprised when you find very risky, overly creative, short-term, highly leveraged products.”