Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Making Andrew Cuomo Pay For His Budget

Arthur Goldstein dubbed Andrew Cuomo's budget this:

And indeed, it truly is the Eva Moskowitz budget.

Cuomo told Moskowitz's Albany rally a few weeks ago that he would protect charters and help them to flourish in NYC, and he certainly did that in this budget:

Most significantly, the legislation would require the city to find space for charter schools inside public school buildings or pay much of the cost to house them in private space. The legislation would also prohibit the city from charging rent to charter schools, an idea Mr. de Blasio had championed as a candidate for mayor.


Under the budget agreement, charter schools would receive more money per student. The schools, previously barred from operating early education programs, would also be eligible for grants for prekindergarten.

Cuomo took a victory lap afterward:

“We want to protect and grow and support that charter school movement, and this budget does that,” Mr. Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters.
 By "we" Cuomo must mean he and the charter school operators and their Wall Street backers who fed more than $800K into his campaign coffers and spent more than $1.2 million a week over the last month flooding the airwaves with anti-de Blasio/pro-charter school ads that claim poor charters cannot afford to pay the rent the mayor wanted to charge them.

In the end, it was a huge victory for Cuomo and his charter school backers, a huge defeat for de Blasio and traditional public schools:

Despite Mr. de Blasio’s claim of victory and the statements of good cheer circulated by his allies, the mayor seemed to walk away from budget negotiations with serious setbacks
He appeared to win only a fraction of what he had sought for a vast expansion of the after-school programs this fall. Charter schools in New York City will now enjoy some of the greatest protections in the country. And Mr. de Blasio’s control of city schools was unmistakably questioned, more than a decade after the state granted his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, authority over education.

“This is a land grab, a power grab,” said Diane Ravitch, an education historian who endorsed Mr. de Blasio during his campaign. “They loved mayoral control when it was Mayor Bloomberg, but now it’s a progressive mayor, and they’re gutting it.”

So where do we go from here?

I'd start by working to find a viable candidate from the left who can run against Governor Cuomo in a general election and take votes away from him.

Forget primarying Cuomo, you're not beating him in a primary.

And forget GOP candidate Rob Astorino beating Cuomo, it's not happening, and given his anti-union, pro-charter stances, I'm pretty sure I don't want it to happen anyway.

What I do want to happen, however, is for Cuomo to have a tough re-election fight that leaves him weakened for his second term and unable to mount a legitimate campaign for the White House in 2016.

Cuomo wants to run for president in 2016 if Hillary Clinton decides not to run.

In order to mount a legitimate candidacy, Cuomo wants a huge 2014 re-election margin, with votes coming from right, left and center.

He wants a bigger re-election victory tally than Christie had last year in Jersey (Christie garnered 62.5% in his re-election over Barbara Buono) in order to say he's as popular in his state as Christie used to be in his pre-Bridgegate.

He wants votes from right, left and center in order to say he is not beholden to any one ideology, that he worked across party lines to "get things done" in NY State - like on time budgets, APPR teacher evaluations, stringent union contracts, and the SAFE Act gun control law.

The way to harm Andrew Cuomo and his fevered ambitions to be president is to challenge him from both right and left, not to beat him (which is not very likely given the polling and Cuomo's massive campaign war chest), but to hold him as close to 50% as possible.

Giving Cuomo a Pyrrhic re-election victory ought to be the goal of every person pissed off about the budget, pissed off about the Common Core or APPR, pissed off about the SAFE Act or his failure to act on fracking one way or the other.

In short, people from both right and left.

People pissed off at Cuomo from the right ought to vote for Astorino, people pissed off at Cuomo from the left ought to vote for either the Green Party candidate or another candidate from the left if that candidate emerges.

Bill Samuels, once a Cuomo supporter, now a Cuomo critic, paid for a poll that showed a candidate from the left could garner 10% of the vote against Cuomo in a general election.

I'm not sure I buy that a candidate from the left can take 10% of the vote in a general, but I do think there is sufficient anger from the left that can be exploited by a good candidate looking to hurt Cuomo at the polls and send a message to him.

Couple a challenge from the left that takes 5% or more in support away from Cuomo with a GOP candidate like Astorino, a professional politician who cannot be marginalized the way Crazy Carl Paladino was last time around by Cuomo, and you're looking at keeping Sheriff Andy up nights worried about his re-election totals.

Again, I don't think you can beat him in November, certainly not from the left, most likely not from the right either, barring some scandal that takes Cuomo down (as one has seemingly taken Christie down in NJ.)

But you surely can weaken Cuomo going into his second term, limit him to a victory total just a few points over 50%, and reinforce the political meme that Cuomo does not enjoy statewide popularity or approval, that he has serious issues with people on both the right and left, and that he is a candidate sure to lose in 2016 because these weaknesses will be exposed in a Democratic primary (the loyalist Dems at the Daily Kos have already taken aim at Cuomo for 2016, calling him a modern-day Joe Lieberman, so he starts out behind the 8 ball already anyway.)

It is time to build opposition to Cuomo from both right and left to destroy his White House dreams and make him a lame duck governor the moment he takes the oath of office for his second term.

Make him pay for the outrage you feel over this budget, this charter school giveaway that ensures Eva Moskowitz gets to grow her charter network as much as she wants so long as she doesn't hit the cap and do it on the city's dime to boot.

And you can make him pay by destroying his presidential ambitions and weakening him for his second term as governor.


  1. By working on behalf of the Republican political agenda to enrich the very wealthy at the expense of taxpayers, Cuomo robs all of us of our personal freedom of choice... the basic freedom to vote and choose in meaningful elections.

  2. I couldn't agree more. I will vote Republican in November for the first time in my life. Why? Because I'm sick of the Dems thinking I have no choice but to vote for them. It will be a protest vote. I'm not voting Republican, I'm voting against Cuomo.

  3. "By working on behalf of the Repub. political agenda..."-I firmly disagree with this statement. When will people realize that in some major issues.....THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE....the privitization is demanded by BOTH PARTY leadership...this old Blue vs. Red shit has got to go from our minds on this issue!!! Just as, on this issue, education....Obama is of the same mind as Jeb Bush....WE THE PEOPLE must abandon our petty hatred s and unite to fight these corporate fascists...

  4. This all sounds very good but exactly where is this mysterious "left" candidate who will rise up in November and pull enough votes away from Cuomo to make the slightest dent in his victory margin? Unless the Working Families Party suddenly grows a pair this is "pie in the sky" because it's already April and there is no sign anywhere of a "Great Left Hope." Frustration and anger do not constitute by themselves a political strategy or coherent plan of attack. The only possible plan that might have some effect, small though it will be, will be to encourage as many people as possible to "skip the line" for Governor in November--each "blank" vote for governor reduces Cuomo's margin. We all need to start a "Skip the Line" campaign now that will reduce the hard vote for Cuomo--it's he only strategy that we can implement in five months that may have some appreciable effect.

  5. It's not the "only strategy," vote for Astorino. It's obvious that Cuomo wants to end public education in NYC. At this point a Republican can't be worse for NYC public school employees.

  6. Yes...some of u, no matter how reprehensible it may seem to u, should vote for the Republican if it can hurt this Gov...who is ruling us like an uber Republican. Is Cuomo even a Dem. at all, other than name?

  7. But there's still the Green Party option.