Dick Brennan’s Blog: 2016 presidential run for Cuomo?

It’s hard to imagine Governor Andrew Cuomo having a better legislative session. In the past six months, he closed a $10 billion dollar budget gap, without new taxes or a so-called “millionaire’s tax.” The governor managed to get a property tax cap through the legislature, along with an ethics reform bill. And his crowning achievement – getting a gay marriage law enacted after it was defeated only two years ago.
So even though the next presidential race open for a Democrat would not be until 2016, why not speculate?
Cuomo in 2016? When first asked about it, he flatly ruled out a run. Then, he refused to flatly rule out a run. “I’m not going to engage in this conversation or fuel this speculation.” That’s what they all say.
Cuomo has been largely running the state as fiscal conservative and a social liberal. This mirrors the views of the all-important independent voter. But it just so happens that, in this case, good politics matches good governance. If Cuomo reins in the once out-of-control and dysfunctional state legislature, if he keeps taxes low and stops residents from leaving the state, New York will once again be on the road to fiscal sanity, and the governor perhaps to a presidential bid.
Of course, the road to the White House is littered with the banners of New York governors who’ve run for president. The last one to make it all the way: FDR. In between, there were candidates Thomas Dewey, Averell Harriman and Nelson Rockefeller. George Pataki flirted with a run, and Mario Cuomo came close to joining a presidential race.
We don’t expect a second “Hamlet on the Hudson” act from Mario’s son. Andrew’s style is to make decisions slowly, but once he decides, watch out.
The 2016 race raises the fantastic possibility of a cross-river run for the White House, with Chris Christie lining up on the GOP side. Christie continues to deny that he will take a shot later this year, and I take him at his word.
And this presupposes that Barack Obama gets reelected, by no means a certainty. The president has been noticeable in his ability to be on both sides of the same issue. Mr. Obama has been opposed to gay marriage. But he reacted to the vote in New York by saying his position is “evolving.” Evolving? Does he have Darwin on his advisory board? When a politician says a position is “evolving”, it simply means he’s watching the polls.
But Cuomo has been successful by leading, not following. So far. And before he runs for president, he still has to get re-elected governor.
But what’s more fun in politics than speculating.

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