Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, July 2, 2015

De Blasio/Cuomo Feud Day Three: Cuomo Loyalists Worried About Cuomo's "Democrat Problem"

Day Three of the de Blasio/Cuomo feud and while there are still few prominent Democratic politicians publicly siding with de Blasio (I count just state Senator Mark Panepinto and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for now), many are piling on Cuomo off the record or indirectly.

Here's Harry Siegel in the Daily News:

The phrase “nothing to lose” came up repeatedly as I asked de Blasio-aligned Democrats how, exactly, attacking Cuomo personally helps the city.

“It is cathartic, but I think it’s also politically smart,” said one City Hall veteran with extensive experience dealing with the governor. “What’s Cuomo going to do? Take the largest school system in America hostage? He’s already done that. Bill’s calculation was that he had nothing to lose.”


“This is not about the difference between a wide-eyed idealist and a clear-eyed pragmatist,” said the Democrat, in an assessment others sympathetic to de Blasio echoed. “This is the difference between someone who is not a psychopath and someone who is. Saying that clarifies the picture for voters — that the mayor is with the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers who think Albany is a bad place.”

Strong word, “psychopath,” but it speaks to how the name “Andrew Cuomo” has become a slur in progressive circles, both because of his politics and what they see as his conniving nature.

Stephanie Miner, mayor of Buffalo:

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner knows firsthand what it’s like to feud with the powerful governor.
Miner was Cuomo’s hand-picked co-chairwoman of the state Democratic party until she fell out of favor after publicly criticizing a pension plan by the governor.

For a while, Cuomo stopped talking to her and often did events just outside her city to which she was not invited.

“The blowback was a lot of anonymous ad hominem attacks and lots of threats,” she said. “I just said I wasn’t going to be bullied or intimidated.”

When Miner earlier this year called on the state to use a multi-billion-dollar surplus to help fund local infrastructure projects, Cuomo responded that Syracuse should pay for its own water projects by reviving the local economy.

“This governor in particular, when you have a disagreement with him on public policy, he views that as heresy,” Miner said.

Mark Panepinto again:

New to Albany, Sen. Marc C. Panepinto, D-Buffalo, said that there are many reasons for Cuomo’s problems with his own party. “He’s in the first six months of a second term. He picks unnecessary fights with key Democratic constituencies. His poll numbers are down, and his favoring of the moneyed interests of the state has made it easier for rank-and-file Democrats to stand against him,” the senator said.

Jumaane Williams:

Councilman Jumaane D. Williams, a Brooklyn Democrat, led a chant this week against Mr. Cuomo at a meeting of the Rent Guidelines Board, calling out: “Cuomo betrayed us. The R.G.B. can save us.” Mr. Williams, who declined to endorse Mr. Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic primary, said he now wishes he had campaigned actively against the governor.

“I think somebody has to run against him, and I think somebody will,” Mr. Williams said.

Progressives backed de Blasio in the fight:

Liberals who have long chafed under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's centrist governing are thrilled that Mayor Bill de Blasio attacked the governor Tuesday for stymieing the city's agenda in Albany.

"Democrats are angry with a governor whose word is not trustworthy, and who pursues Republican policies," said Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor who challenged Mr. Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic primary. "Republicans are tired of him, too, as he seems less driven by ideas or governing and more by power and intrigue."


When Ms. Teachout bid for the Working Families Party endorsement last year, Mr. de Blasio helped persuade the party to give its ballot line to Mr. Cuomo. Still, she said she has no hard feelings for the mayor and is grateful that his dispute with Mr. Cuomo has finally spilled out into the public sphere.

"He made a big mistake [in backing Mr. Cuomo last year], I think, but I generally agree with him and am thrilled he's standing up," she said. "Punditry aside, New Yorkers really need leaders who are going to openly have their back, and say what they think. I liked him before, but I like him even better now."

"The mayor is reiterating what many of us feel," said Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change and a member of the Working Families Party. "His comments were a breath of fresh air."

Mr. Westin spent much of this legislative session protesting against Mr. Cuomo for not pushing harder to protect rent-regulated tenants. He said the mayor's comments could prove to be a galvanizing moment for those on the political left, who until now have been flailing against the governor or felt snookered by him.

"When we actually have a mayor that has his soapbox and is calling [Mr. Cuomo] out when he is not staying true to his word, then I think we have a much bigger megaphone to go out and push our policies," he said.

And the biggest sign that this is a problem for Cuomo - his loyalists are concerned:

Once relegated to whispers, a growing number of Democrats no longer are afraid to publicly take on Cuomo. They say two factors are at work: what de Blasio described as an “accumulated experience” in dealing with the governor and the realities that Cuomo’s poll numbers have been diving and his re-election last year was less than overwhelming.
If the governor’s team is keeping a stiff upper lip about Democratic relations, the situation has Cuomo loyalists worried. They talk of another recent governor, Eliot L. Spitzer, who also had problems with fellow Democrats.

In interviews over the last week, key Democrats say 2015 is turning out to be Cuomo’s most challenging period in office as he walks the tightrope of serving as governor in a diverse state and also titular head of a left-leaning Democratic Party. They say their unhappiness is more complex than complaints by liberal Democrats that he is too cozy with Republicans and some deep-pocketed business interests.

The governor’s supporters also sound anxious.

Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, who last year was co-chairwoman of Cuomo’s re-election campaign, said that she personally likes Cuomo but that he “really could afford better working relationships with Democrats.”

“Some people feel like he works against them, and that is a negative for our party,” she said, “and I think we could probably get so much more done if it didn’t always have to be one way.”

More and more, de Blasio's criticisms of Cuomo are looking like a watershed moment where the dam breaks and the tide turns against Cuomo.

The key indicator of that is not so much the glee of liberals at de Blaiso's criticism but the worry of Cuomo's dwindling loyalists that Cuomo's got to change but alas, he's probably incapable of it.


  1. Cuomo doubtlessly views de Blasio as an unintelligent neophyte weirdo - an awful combination of descriptors. Now Cuomo would probably add the descriptor whiner to de Blasio.
    This sort of description - and Cuomo is not particularly far off in his assessment of de Blasio - only encourages Cuomo's bullying instincts.
    This was easily predictable given de Blasio's loopy left (communist) past and his lack of political or leadership experience (to put in mildly).
    Are the folks that elected de Blasio surprised he has been repeatedly and publicly slapped around by Cuomo?

    1. He's being slapped around by the million dollar bills that are lining Cuomos pockets. The bastard wouldn't be so disgustingly arrogant without the support of the billionaires behind the scenes.

  2. DeBlasio might do a little better if he hadn't run the schools pretty much like Bloomberg.

    1. Not out to defend de Blasio - I'm out to pull down Cuomo.

      In this fight between Cuomo and de Blasio, your resentment of de Blasio's running of schools only helps Cuomo.

      I want to keep the focus on destroying Cuomo.