Troubled Days In Andrew Cuomoland
New York State’s Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has long been considered a shoo-in for Governor. His popularity has not been a matter of him being the son of Mario a.k.a “Hamlet” Cuomo (who dithered and dithered about running for President until his moment passed). But he is popular in his own right. So it was considered a “given” that he would easily beat the GOP candidate particularly when the upset victor in the Republican primary turned out to be Tea Partier Carl Paladino, a verbal bomb thrower who has so much baggage that TSA wants to inspect him.
Two things in the past 48 hours have changed the narrative and it is now not “impossible” (as if anything ever is) for Cuomo to lose to Paladino.
1. A poll came out showing Cuomo only 9 points ahead of Paladina. Granted, it doesn’t factor in Republican primary loser Rick Lazio being on the conservative ticket. But if you had to place money you might figure Lazio, a party man, will eventually at the very least make it clear he is not going to campaign and run against Lazio and “give” the Governor’s mansion to Cuomo.
2. Cuomo apparently lied about voting for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a favorite of moderates and independents who some think could be a credible third party candidate in 2012 given the disgust some Americans now feel towards both parties and to America’s 24/7 perpetual left-right political polemics.
Two thoughts on this:
–If Lazio doesn’t campaign like his career depended on it, then he’s dumb. It does and (presumably) he isn’t.
–In today’s campaigns were partisans seize on something to rage and rant about for days, egged on and perpetuated by talk show hosts and weblogs until it becomes a big issue in the mainstream media, Cuomo’s little inaccuracy could prove to be not so little. Granted: he hasn’t liked about military service or said that he was once a warlock. But it WILL put him on defense and WILL veer him off from issues.
The biggest threat to Cuomo: it is clear that some Massachetts voters were turned off by statement or suggestions that Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat was a “Kennedy seat” and that any ideology or person had an “right” to it. Cuomo can’t get himself in a position where people think he’s counting on being Mario Cuomo’s son to influence voters. He’s going to have to campaign hard, answer Paladino in a way that puts the GOPer on defense or knocks down his charges — and be careful when he speaks. It has been assumed that Cuomo was a political powerhouse. Is that yet one more political assumption that will fall by the wayside this year?
If he coasts he could find himself on a coast…after election day…sitting on the beach in Florida…resting up from his losing campaign for Governor of New York.