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Eye On Candidates
March 24, 2015

Andrew Cuomo, Fading Contender?

Politico has a fascinating article on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, excerpted from an upcoming book on him by Michael Shnayerson, " The Contender: Andrew Cuomo, a Biography." It's a good read on the man some think might be the Democrats strongest contender in 2016 if Hillary Clinton decides not to run or stumbles early. The title of the article is more suggestive of the idea his prospects are fading than the excerpts, but there are some nuggets in there supporting the theme:

He Coulda Been a Contender: The Rise and Fall of Andrew Cuomo

As 2014 arrived and reelection loomed, Cuomo’s favorability rating remained high—about 63 percent—but it was floating gently downward. A poll of Albany lawmakers and politicos would have ranked him much lower, for the truth was that Andrew had worn out his welcome on both sides of the aisle. To more than a few, he wasn’t a Democrat at all, but instead some Darth Vader standing atop both parties with a boot on each one’s neck...

He had spent his life working up to this moment, plotting each next step. Of his generation of American politicians, he had the single best résumé for a White House run: the time put in at each next station, the solid achievements scored. Yet there was Hillary, blocking his path, the one politician he couldn’t fight.

Now, even as Andrew waited on Hillary, there was a new threat coming up in his rearview mirror. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren had paid none of the dues that Andrew had. She hadn’t started by stuffing envelopes and doing advance work. She hadn’t spent her twenties helping the homeless. She hadn’t gone to the White House to shake a moribund housing agency back to life. She hadn’t suffered the pain of running for office and losing in the sorriest way. Yet there she was, edging up on him: the new hope for his party’s liberal wing...

There was just that nagging question of character. Andrew was commanding, pragmatic, hardworking, personally incorruptible (so far), fierce in defense of his policies—and willing to compromise when absolutely necessary. In short, a strong leader. He was also vengeful, bullying, mean-spirited, conniving, not always true to his word, and very secretive.

In his first years as governor, Andrew had often drawn comparisons to President Lyndon Johnson for his charm and cunning in getting bills passed. Now another president was sometimes evoked. Rex Smith, editor in chief of the Albany Times Union, had written that glowing editorial upon Andrew’s inauguration, wondering if a tough, strong, no-nonsense leader was exactly what Albany needed after its years of chaos. Now he was struck by similarities between Andrew and Richard Nixon—ones that had only grown with Andrew’s handling of the Moreland commission, and the investigation that hung over his head...

It's an interesting look at Cuomo, and suggests in part why Elizabeth Warren (or someone else) might be more likely or able to step up in the event Clinton doesn't run or looks vulnerable.