ALAN CHARTOCK: Cuomo in the wingsMore Info
Questions I get:
What is Andrew Cuomo really up to? Is he running for president?
In my opinion, he is clearly positioning himself for a presidential run. “But how can he do that?” you ask. It’s easy. In the world of politics, anything can happen. Andrew has positioned himself in line behind Joe Biden. He has made it clear that Biden is his preferred candidate, but when I made the mistake of suggesting that he had already endorsed Biden, he took issue with the word “endorsement.” I’m here to tell you that if Biden falters, Andrew is in.
I suspect that, unlike his father, the last thing Andrew will do is to take a corner office in some classy law firm under some senior partner who may be spending his money to get his kid into a prestigious school. (Yes, that definitely was a shot.) Nope, the guy has his nasty edges, but he’s not done yet. If it isn’t the presidency, it will be that fourth term that his old man was denied. Andrew certainly has a side of him that worships Mario and another that competes with his pop.
A Cabinet seat is probably out of the question (been there, done that), although a Secretary of State position might be tempting, perhaps as a political payoff under Biden. But it’s hard to see Andrew taking orders from anyone at this stage.
Another question: “Why didn’t Mario run for president when HE had the chance?”
To this day, no one knows. Well, maybe Andrew knows. Rumors circulated around Matilda Cuomo’s father, who was in the construction industry. (Follow the bouncing ball.) I knew Mario pretty well and he did practice the art of the possible. He ran for governor when nobody thought he had a chance against bigmouth Ed Koch.
That question is followed by, “Why didn’t Mario Cuomo take a Supreme Court seat when it was offered by Bill Clinton?” Despite what George Stephanopoulos wrote in his book, Mario told me that the whole thing was a sort of arranged deal in which the Clintons would offer the job but not mean it and he would turn it down, which is exactly what happened.
It was all sort of complicated. The relationship between the Clintons and Mario was strained. For their part, the Clintons “adopted” Andrew, gave him a position in the Cabinet and that put Mario in the awkward position of “owing” the Clintons. He couldn’t undermine Andrew and the phony Supreme Court deal was just that: “phony.”
I am getting a lot of questions regarding the bad relations between the newly elected Senate Democratic majority under Andrea Stewart-Cousins and their Assembly allies under Speaker Carl Heastie. Last week someone tried the gambit of playing the racist card against Andrew because Heastie and Cousins are Black. That backfired big time.
Despite everything he has said, the governor clearly didn’t love the idea of the Senate being taken over by the Democrats. He was much more comfortable with the Republicans. They could be the bad guys and he could dangle their longevity to keep them in line. Finally the game was up. If he was going to run for president, he couldn’t be known as the man who kept the Republicans in power in his own state. So he went all in to get them elected, but the newly enfranchised Democrats were not ready to forgive Andrew for all those years he kept them in the wilderness.
He has had to prove to legislative Democrats that he’s the boss. It is pretty well acknowledged that the Senate Democrats screwed up the Amazon deal and that played right into Andrew’s hand. He can’t afford to gloat but it did prove that Andrew plays in a different league. In the end, he is “Andrew Tough Guy” and he takes no prisoners.