New York Post columnist Fred Dicker hosted Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a wide-ranging discussion about the end of the legislative session, but the two got hung up on the question of whether or not The New York Post qualifies for the label.
Speaking about Gov. Cuomo’s marijuana reform legislation, which would decriminalize small amounts of pot. According to Mr. Dicker and Mr. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos reversed himself and now opposes the bill.
“Well, all of a sudden you have the Conservative Party make their voice heard,” Mr. Cuomo said.
“So you think he got scared? You think he ran in panic?” Mr. Dicker asked.
Responded Mr. Cuomo
I think there is no doubt that the State Senate heard the conservative wing of the party and they are reacting to it and that will be an issue in this campaign season because the Republican Senate will have to go before the voters and I believe that when they have done well these past 18 months they have been a moderate Republican Party. I don’t believe this state will tolerate a party that caters to the extreme ultra conservative side of the party. That is not what this state does, Fred. With all do respect to some of the positions of your paper. You don’t have a sizable constituency for extreme conservative philosophy.
Let us pause here for a moment to note that Mr. Cuomo at last seems to be drifting into election mode after saying he would leave the politics aside until the end of the session. It is widely assumed that he is tacitly backing the GOP to retain the State Senate, but here he seemed to be issuing them a warning that if they pander to the right fringe that they will face an unforgiving electorate come November–exactly the message that Democrats have been pounding.
Regardless, at this point Mr. Dicker interjected.
“I haven’t seen that in my paper by the way—an extreme conservative philosophy,” he said. “I have seen some conservative philosophy but I wouldn’t call it extreme. I mean just today there is an editorial that opposes your teacher evaluation plan and it takes Mayor Bloomberg’s position. I don’t think you would consider him to be an extremist, would you?”
It is worth pausing here too to note that this is a bit of a loaded question for them both. The Post has been hammering Mr. Cuomo on the teacher evaluation plan, and according to the tabloid, Mr. Cuomo is still fuming over the Bloomberg administration’s apparent snub of his father, Mario, at the tenth anniversary of 9/11 remembrance last year.
Mr. Cuomo wisely did not take the bait.
“I believe your paper on occasion takes extreme conservative positions, yes,” he said. “It may be a difference of perspective between me and you but that is what I believe.”
Mr. Cuomo added that in his view the GOP position on the minimum wage law and their position on the marijuana legalization are “extreme conservatively.”
“I think these will be issues that the people of this state will weigh in this election,” Mr. Cuomo said, adding a moment later, “If the Senate wants to turn extreme conservative, how much do you want to bet on the outcome this November.
So, shots fired, but the two were able to find common ground at least on a Elle Decor spread about Mr. Cuomo and his girlfriend Sandra Lee’s Mt. Kisco home.
Apparently, the governor has a man-cave with an oversized poster of Jim Morrison.
“Have you been a Jim Morrison fan since you were a kid,” Mr. Dicker asked.
“Yea, since probably high school,” the governor responded. “I love The Doors. I still do.”
“Fantastic,” Mr. Dicker said.
“Oh yea,” Mr. Cuomo responded.
Scott Reif, a spokesman for Mr. Skelos, sent along the following:
“While we won’t agree on every issue, New Yorkers know that Senate Republicans have worked with Governor Cuomo and our colleagues in the Assembly to deliver bipartisan results that have turned this state around. Whether it’s controlling spending, cutting taxes or helping the private sector create new jobs, our priorities are the people’s priorities.”