They fume about each other’s egos, moods and stunts. They have not appeared together at a single news conference all year. Each of their successes, real or perceived, can provoke envy or resentment in the other.
Who are these bickering nabobs? The new Odd Couple of New York politics: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
One year into Mr. Cuomo’s first term, it is something of an open secret that the relationship between the billionaire mayor and the gubernatorial scion has taken a deeply sour turn.
The men haggle for credit on all sorts of issues, like passing the same-sex marriage law and providing translation assistance to immigrants. When Tropical Storm Irene blew in, the governor tried to bar a state official from appearing at the mayor’s events. Some of their aides snipe and spar.
This week, when Mr. Cuomo convened a news conference in Albany to announce a deal on Mr. Bloomberg’s plan to improve city taxi service, the mayor was not given enough notice to trek upstate. Instead, he spoke briefly via speakerphone, his voice hanging over the podium where Mr. Cuomo was flashing a grin.
In public, the two remain circumspect, insisting that talk of any conflict is fiction.
“We’ve never had an argument,” the mayor said this week, before adding, “We’re not always going to agree on everything.”
But in private conversations with lawmakers and friends, they confide frustrations.
The governor portrays the mayor as inflexible, sanctimonious and someone who treats the democratic process as an inconvenience, according to people familiar with his thinking.
And Mr. Bloomberg is said to see Mr. Cuomo as the epitome of the self-interested, horse-trading political culture he has long stood against.
Each is ambitious, tough and accomplished, but the tension, as much about style as substance, has become a key factor in city-state relations, making it more difficult to settle complex issues. And as the ascendant Mr. Cuomo builds his national profile and the term-limited mayor seeks to solidify his legacy, the conflict is unlikely to disappear soon.
Gee, two arrogant, vindictive, my-way-or-the-highway assholes don't like each other and cannot get along - what a surprise!
Actually, not really.
What is a surprise is that Cuomo - who has sought to convert his reputation from being an arrogant, vindictive, my-way-or-the-highway asshole in order to appear presidential material for 2016 - is back to being portrayed as an arrogant, vindictive, my-way-or-the-highway asshole in the news media.
He's riding high with his 68% approval rating, so he seems to have much of New York fooled and he has the upper hand on the more unpopular Bloomberg.
But I say a couple more years of Little Andy's backscene bullying and that approval rating will be down to Bloomberg's level.
Cuomo can make believe he has grown up and matured into a wise, seasoned politician who puts the best interests of the people above politics all he wants.
He's still the same win-at-all-costs asshole who ran a racist campaign against Carl McCall and he will eventually have those colors exposed again for all of New York to see.
Perhaps the Bloomberg/Cuomo rivalry article is the beginning of that process.