That's what he did yesterday, sounding very much like George W. Bush:
Gov. Cuomo stopped short of bashing his primary rival Zephyr Teachout for refusing to take a position on Israel, but said anyone who doesn't think the Middle Eastern conflict is a New York problem is "living in a state of denial."
Teachout, who is running against Cuomo in the Democratic primary, has declined to state her position on Israel's decision to launch attacks in the Gaza Strip.
Without mentioning Teachout by name, Cuomo said anyone who thinks the conflict is just an Israeli problem is engaging in the "ostrich strategy."
"We went through 9-11. We [as New Yorkers] have a special sensitivity to terrorism ... We have a special connection to Israel," Cuomo said after a closed door meeting with national Jewish leaders to discuss his 29-hour trip to Israel last month.
Asked specifically about Teachout's silence on the matter, Cuomo declined to comment directly but said, "Any New Yorker who doesn't understand that Israel's fight is our fight is living not in the state of New York but in the state of denial."
He said the violence is the Middle East is "not just Israel's problem."
"It's democracies versus extremism and terrorism. And Israel is a target because they're a democracy," said Cuomo, adding that the enemies of Israel are also anti-European and anti-American.
"What is over there is going to be over here. And it's going to be over here much sooner than we think," said Cuomo.
Reread Cuomo's statements, then close your eyes and think back to the time when George W. Bush told us the United States was attacked by terrorists on 9/11 because "They hate us for our freedoms!" and ran a re-election campaign that essentially argued everybody would die if John Kerry were elected president in 2004.
Doesn't it sound like Cuomo's framing this 2014 election the same way and arguing the same thing about a vote for Zephyr Teachout?
Clearly he's looking to shore up the pro-Israel vote here with his staunch support of the Israelis and that's fine - politicians play to constituencies and ethnic groups for support all of the time, nothing wrong with Cuomo doing it.
But I think it's a mark of his desperation that he uses the kind of language the Bush campaign used in 2004 to scare people away from John Kerry.
Does he really need to make it sound like a vote for Zephyr Teachout is a vote for terrorism?
Because that's what I hear when he says "What is over there is going to be over here. And it's going to be over here much sooner than we think."
Teachout did address the issue afterwards:
Zephry Teachout said if she's elected governor she will work to maintain New York's "special" relationship with Israel, but won't be wading into any foreign policy issues as leader of the state.
“New York has a very special relationship with Israel, and Israel was founded here [at the United Nations]," she said at a press event in Manhattan.
She added, "As governor it will be part of my job to be supporting that relationship, but I’m not running for president and I’m not going to second guess the president or the secretary of state on foreign policy issues.”
Seems like a reasonable position to me.
I think a New Yorker can vote for Zephyr Teachout and not worry they're voting for terrorism too.
No matter what George W., er, Andrew M. Cuomo says.