At a certain level, this should not be Andrew Cuomo’s year. This supposedly is the year of the outsider, the year of mad-as-hell candidates who embrace the idea that they know nothing about how government works–and insist that those who do have such knowledge must somehow be corrupt.
Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, would have a hard time persuading anybody that he is an outsider. He has been a presence in Albany since his father’s election as governor in 1982. Political insiders have been whispering about his ambitions–they are said to be limitless–for a quarter-century. While he is not running for governor as an incumbent, he is the sitting state attorney general.
He is, in short, a fixture in New York politics, and he is running for governor at a time when voters are looking to put an end to politics as usual, to punish those responsible for creating a culture of dysfunction in Albany.
Mr. Cuomo could have become a symbol of the discredited status quo. Instead, he has shrewdly tapped into the public’s anger and frustration, packaging himself as the cure for Albany’s ailments. He has become the clear and obvious choice to lead New York through its ongoing fiscal crisis and toward a better, cleaner and more transparent political culture.
The Observer endorses Mr. Cuomo in this year’s gubernatorial election.
Mr. Cuomo’s Republican-Conservative opponent, Carl Paladino, has embarrassed himself and his state since his unexpected victory in September’s Republican Party primary. But even had he been the model of probity, his candidacy (like that of many others supported by the Tea Party movement) is fundamentally flawed. In essence, Mr. Paladino is arguing that the best way to clean up Albany is to elect a governor who knows nothing about politics and government–yet the two are and always will be intertwined. Mr. Paladino and his Tea Party compatriots appear to believe that it is possible to change or reform government by spewing invective from the studios of Fox News.
Mr. Cuomo, on the other hand, understands both the public’s demand for change and the complex, and very human, obstacles to reform in Albany. The State Legislature will not be moved by personal insults. No legislative committee will pass reform legislation simply because the governor supports it. Some of the changes voters demand–campaign finance reform, for example–can be legislated. But other changes will have to take place behind closed doors, when the new governor uses his powers of persuasion to bring about a reform of Albany’s political culture.
Andrew Cuomo is prepared for this task. His years of experience and knowledge make him well qualified to fix what is broken. His political instincts and his ambitions suggest that he will respond to voter discontent–he knows, better than anybody, that if he can return Albany to a place of pride among state capitals, he has a bright future ahead of him.
Andrew Cuomo is the clear choice for governor of New York in 2010.