Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fred Dicker, Andrew Cuomo Look To Be Splitsville

For the first couple of years of the Cuomo administration, you could bet that if information about the governor showed up in Fred Dicker's NY Post column, it would be deferential of Cuomo and serve to promote the governor as the bestest thing to happen to Albany since the Erie Canal.

But not anymore - here's Dicker's latest, a broadside against Cuomo from the right:

Gov. Cuomo has veered sharply away from the reform and pro-business policies he followed during his first two years in office and is “adrift’’ on a course of murky proposals, frequent indecision, and political obsessions focused on re-election next year and the presidency in 2016, insiders have told The Post.

The insiders, some of whom have known Cuomo for decades, said the governor has become so obsessed with maintaining what until recently were record-high job-approval ratings that he has refused, for fear of alienating politically potent liberal voting blocs, to make tough decisions to cut costs for fiscally troubled local governments, reduce regulations to attract businesses, and approve hydrofracking for natural gas.

“It’s all about maintaining his numbers now, not about the best policies for the state,’’ said a source who knows Cuomo well.

“If he makes the political tough decisions, his numbers will go down, so what he’s trying to do is avoid anything controversial. That’s why he’s adrift,’’ the source continued.

The insiders describe Cuomo as hypersensitive to criticism and prone to argue at great length with anyone who says his administration has, as one of its own members put it, “run off the tracks.’’
“He’s running around like a banshee, blaming his staff and everybody else for the problems of his own making,’’ said a highly knowledgeable source, adding, “I’ll be a dead man in Albany’’ if his identity is disclosed.

Cuomo signaled his new direction in a State of the State Address last month that was so devoid of serious, game-changing initiatives that he had to rely on two catastrophes — the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut and the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy — for its principle news-generating proposals.

The third major substantive piece of his speech — the so-called Women’s Equality Act — was a largely manufactured effort because the supposed “problems’’ being addressed in the proposals are already largely covered by state law, the insiders agreed.

“It was put in the speech because there really wasn’t much else there,’’ said a second source close to the administration.

Democrat Cuomo’s unfocused new direction is tied to the Republicans’ loss of control of the state Senate, which the governor openly sought to prevent.

For Cuomo’s first two years in office, Senate Republicans joined with him in forcing the Democratic-controlled Assembly to end years of irresponsible state spending, cap runaway local property taxes, and create a new pension system to reduce the cost of future public employees.

But with Republicans now forced into a “coalition’’ government with a rump group of “independent’’ liberal Democrats, that alliance is over.

And what support Cuomo still retained in Senate Republican ranks was badly damaged last month when he pressured Dean Skelos, the weakest GOP leader in modern times, to support a tough new anti-gun law that was so politically damaging that state GOP Chairman Ed Cox has publicly denounced it.

Last week, Senate Republicans exacted revenge as they embarrassed Cuomo by publicly questioning the fitness of the governor’s controversial choice of CUNY law prof Jenny Rivera for a seat on the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.

At the same time, Assembly Democrats, who deeply resented the Cuomo/Senate GOP alliance, embarrassed Cuomo at a budget hearing with hostile and insulting questioning of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens over the controversial hydrofracking issue.

The Democrats even allowed flash mobs of anti-hydrofracking activists to interrupt and mock Martens who, for his part, was tense and defensive and left lawmakers with the impression that he wished he worked for anybody but Cuomo.

Business leaders, meanwhile, see the long-delayed hydrofracking decision — which could come this week — as the definitive test of whether Cuomo is serious about changing New York’s reputation as the least business-friendly state in the nation.

“The New York/Pennsylvania border is like the old Berlin Wall, with Pennsylvania being free West Berlin, with prosperity and good jobs thanks to gas drilling,’’ said a top New York business official.
“The New York side is communist East Berlin — poor, humbled, and humiliated, with no high-paying jobs to speak of,’’ the official continued.

Gotta love the fracking propaganda at the end comparing NY State to East Germany circa 1980.

Okay, a few things to say here:

First, this is clearly Dicker doing Murdoch's bidding to set down markers before Cuomo announces his fracking decision to let Little Andy know what life will be like if he fails to give the "business community" (i.e., the hydrofrackers) what they want.

Second, Dicker is letting Cuomo know that while he is getting criticism from the left these days as well, it will be nothing like the hammer job he'll get from the right if he doesn't give the "business community" the kinds of policies they want. 

Third, the Republican loss of the State Senate has hurt Cuomo's ability to govern from the right.  Give the UFT and other groups kudos for putting money into the election and helping take some seats away from the GOP.

Fourth, Cuomo is NOT presidential timber.  He is maniacal, paranoid, thin-skinned, and runs the government like Nixon.  While things were going well in the first two years, those qualities didn't hurt him, but now that things are going a little less swimmingly, you can see the "friends" coming out of the woodwork to hammer him.  I don't see how somebody with Cuomo's personality and temperament makes it through the vetting process.

Fifth, Cuomo has made a lot of enemies over the course of his political career.  He has made many of those in the last three years or so.  Those people are going to look for opportunities to stick a knife in him.  We are beginning to see how that is playing out.

Finally, Rupert Murdoch is letting Cuomo know that he is in danger of losing Uncle Rupert's political and editorial support at the Post and the Journal if Cuomo doesn't give Murdoch what he wants on fracking.

Just last month, Cuomo had 70% approval ratings.

Those ratings dropped in two polls taken after his gun control push.

One poll has him down to 59%.

This is still sky-high territory for a politician, of course (just ask the unpopular Bloomberg about that), but the trajectory is not so good for Cuomo.

Whatever decision he makes on fracking, he is guaranteed to lose even more support in the coming months.

He may even fall below 50%.

He is going to try and thread the middle on the fracking issue, but that is impossible to do on such a controversial issue.

You can guarantee that somebody is not going to be happy after he announces his decision.

No matter what, he will not have the same power to impose his will on the state in the next few years that he had in the first two.

As a teacher looking down at Cuomo's APPR system, this gives me some hope that it can be revisited in a few years after it becomes clear that it is unworkable.

The same goes for Cuomo's rule that education aid increases are tied to having an APPR techcer evaluation system in place.

He's getting away with this crap for now, but he won't get away with it forever.

Winter is coming.


  1. I have always suspected the Cuomo's of being behind the destruction of Elliot Spitzer. I cannot help but think what might have happened in 08 if Spitzer was around to deal with Wall Street. Anyhow, Spitzer it appears is ready to make a run at DiNapoli in 2 years should be worth the price of admission. Finally, Andrea Peyser has a story in todays Post Bloomberg the Pill something or other. In it, she claims that JHS mandate sex education lessons on oral and anal sex. Is this really happening in NYC JHS?

  2. And to think Fred almost got wacked by Crazy Carl Paladino while in the service of the dark lord of Albany. Funny how things can turn around on you in the turbulent cesspool of high stakes politicking.