Alan Chartock: Whither Gov. Andrew Cuomo?More Info
You never know what you might do or ask to make news all over New York state. About a week ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was a guest on our Roundtable panel on public radio station WAMC. If you want to hear the interview, just get the WAMC app and listen to the remarkable give and take. My friend Frank Raphael described the latest of several encounters as “two porcupines circling each other.”
For years, I interviewed Papa Mario Cuomo each week for virtually every public radio station in New York. That program was called “Me and Mario.” I have to say that Papa Cuomo was really fun. Now it turns out that his son, Andrew, has some of the father’s real spunk. I have tried my best to be as tough on the guy as I know how and I have no doubt that, sooner or later, I will cross the line on what is shaping up to be a weekly half hour and Cuomo the Younger will stop coming on. That’s just the nature of the beast where politicians are concerned but, as of now, it’s been fun.
There’s a line in the classic movie “Mr. Roberts” in which the old doc asks Ensign Pulver about Pulver’s claim that he had had his way with a 30-year-old virgin. As I recall, Pulver’s answer was, “I was the first one to ever ask her a direct question.” Hey, in the case of interviewing the big politicians, you really have nothing to lose by asking direct questions. On the day of that particular interview, I asked Cuomo how he felt about Elizabeth Warren’s newly announced declaration that she was running for president.
Cuomo has been alternatively portraying himself as a middle-of-the-road Democrat and a progressive Democrat, and I knew that he was not about to endorse Warren the uber-progressive. Nonetheless, I asked and, in the true Cuomo style, he played intellectual dodgeball, but it was clear from his answer that he was not thrilled by the Warren declaration. When I asked him who he was for, he didn’t hesitate with his answer: his longtime friend, Joe Biden.
Hey, it makes sense to me. Cuomo and Biden have a mutual admiration society, but the whole thing got me to thinking. I mean, Andrew is in his third term as governor. He is sort of boxed in. He can run for a fourth term, he can run for president OR he can run for vice president, but, like in the case of the senior prom, you’ve got to be asked. By being the first on line to support Biden, maybe he gets owed. Then, if it works out, Biden makes him vice president and, after a few terms, Andrew is in a great place to graduate to the top job. Right? Of course, Cuomo has a few skeletons that might get in the way of being named as Biden’s veep—skeletons with names like Joe Percoco, Todd Howe and Alain Kaloyeros, all, as of now, on their way to prison. Maybe these names will be forgotten, maybe not.
Well, Cuomo made some news by coming out so early for Biden, but he also made news when I told him that people in the newly minted Democratic Senate majority in New York state were threatening to open investigations into his administration. Cuomo came out guns blazing, suggesting that if they investigated him, he could well investigate them—a sort of quid pro quo or, as we have often joked, a Quid pro Cuomo. That may have been a mistake since so many people believe that the more actors who investigate others, the safer we all are.