Cuomo: Spitzer 2.0?

While recently reading an op-ed piece in Crain's New York, I was reminded of the well-known phrase attributed to poet-philosopher George Santayana that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” New York voters would do well to remember this when they head to the polls in November to vote for their next Governor.

NY Democrats breathed a collective sigh of relief that Gov. David Paterson's abandoned his campaign, clearing the way for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to run for chief executive in Albany with the collective weight of the Democratic Machine behind him – all without taking any position whatsoever on any of the colossal issues facing the State now and in the near future.

Sound familiar at all? It should. The present state of affairs strikingly resembles Eliot Spitzer’s march to Albany. Can you say disaster? I can.

Long before Ashley Dupre, “Client #9” and all the other sordid details surrounding the man presently more famous for leaving his socks on in bed than any Governor in state history, Eliot Spitzer was well on his way to becoming one of the most ineffective leaders in recent memory. The “f@#&-in’ steamroller” rode the wave of large margin victories backed by huge campaign money based on a reform platform that consisted of… well… not much substance.

You remember, don’t you? How from day one in office, the business of Albany would change! Spitzer proposed, among other reforms, reductions in health care – a sacred cow to Albany special interests. Said special interests went on the warpath and abandoned him and any legislator who was with him.

In short, despite a landslide, Spitzer never let us in on his grand plan. The result? No cut in health care spending, and Spitzer was "f@#&-in' steamrolled". Truly, a textbook case of how to squander political capital.

Now let’s turn to Mario’s baby boy. Does anyone really know where he stands on anything? Sure, he wants reform – so do I. So does everyone else. And like Spitzer, he can bring all the usual platitudes in a speech.

But what’s the plan, Andrew? How do we get out from under this mountain of debt? Where does he see opportunity for economic development? What will happen to our taxes? The silence should be alarming, if not deafening.

Until now, Cuomo has gone out of his way to be the un-candidate. Republicans and Democrats-turned-Republicans and anyone else jumping out of the woodwork to gain the party nod to run for Governor would be well served to be clear and specific in their platforms to contrast the large echoing sound heard from Albany is coming from the gaping void in leadership located inside the Governor’s Mansion.

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