When Joe Biden was running for president in 1987-1988, he made the ludicrous claim that state governors were "uniquely unequipped to understand a broad range of issues that a senator has to deal with."
Reacting, New York’s 52nd governor, Mario M. Cuomo said Biden made "one of the dumbest statements" in the presidential campaign.
Also, Sydney Blumenthal reported in "Pledging Allegiance: The Last Campaign of the Cold War," that Cuomo referred to Biden as a "dumb blonde."
Watching Biden’s antics of late, I believe Mario Cuomo was prophetic.
Let’s face it, Biden’s public forays have been pathetic. Campaigning from his basement, he not only looks small, but fluffs answers to simple questions, and has trouble following the scripts he reads.
Biden’s behavior explains why some Democrats have been promoting New York’s 56th governor, Andrew M. Cuomo for vice president or even president.
Cuomo has been talked up because his handling of the coronavirus crisis has been excellent. He’s very good in situations where he can be an authoritarian.
Cuomo’s preferred governing style: to control all decisions, even routine ones.
He subscribes to the management approach articulated by Mario Cuomo," I want myself in the center of the wheel and a lot of spokes out to the agencies."
The governor never misses opportunities to enhance his power. Time and again, Cuomo has slipped language into his budgets that strips state officials of oversight authority.
This year there were provisions in over 100 appropriations that permit the governor to shift funding from one department to another without legislative approval.
In April, the legislature passed a budget that is not only woefully unbalanced but, according to Jimmy Vielkind of The Wall Street Journal, "allows the Democratic governor to unilaterally cut spending in the middle of the fiscal year without legislative approval. . . . "
This power grab was even too much for the head of the far-left Working Families Party, Sochie Nnaemeka. She criticized the governor for "using this crisis moment to attempt to squash the power of his opponents and to limit checks and balances and restrict the structure of democracy."
Our power-hungry governor may be impressing a lot of people, but the key question is— Will he be a viable alternative to Biden?
As of now Andrew Cuomo has ruled himself out.
After he told radio talk show host Sean Hannity in mid-April, that "I’m going to be governor of New York, I’m not going anywhere, period," Hannity went on to ask, "Does this statement hold for you: if nominated I will not accept, if drafted, I will not run, if elected I will not serve? Is that your statement?" Cuomo replied, "Yes."
Such "Shermanesque" statements have often been porous.
For example, New York’s 44th governor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, wrote to a close friend in 1931, " . . . quite frankly, I mean what I have said, that I am not in any sense a candidate for 1932, partly because I have seen so much of the White House ever since 1892, that I have no hankering, secret or otherwise, to be a candidate."
Roosevelt biographer, Kenneth Davis, wondered "how or if [F.D.R.’s secretaries] Missy [LeHand] or Grace Tully kept her face straight as she took down the words in shorthand."
Nevertheless, while Cuomo’s polling numbers are soaring, the state’s tax revenues are toppling.
Cuomo was grappling with a $6 billion budget deficit before the shutdown. With 1.1 million New Yorkers unemployed as of April 4, the deficit could easily exceed $12 billion.
To come to grips with this fiscal disaster, Cuomo will probably stick taxpayers with more debt. The budget authorizes him to borrow up to $8 billion in Bond Anticipation Notes and $3 billion from “line of credit facilities and other revolving financing arrangements."
Back in December 1991, when deciding whether to seek the office of president, Mario Cuomo had to deal with a fiscal crisis — albeit, not as bad as the present one.
While a plane was waiting on an Albany runway to fly Mario Cuomo to Concord, New Hampshire to file a statement declaring his candidacy for president, he surprised the nation when he announced that he would not run because budget issues had not been resolved with the Legislature. "It’s my responsibility as governor," he said, "to deal with this extraordinary severe problem. . . . But it seems to me I cannot turn my attention to New Hampshire while this threat hangs over the head of the New Yorkers that I have sworn to put first."
Mario Cuomo realized that he could not lecture Washington on its fiscal follies, while his state’s finances were not in order.
If Biden falters, Governor Cuomo should reflect upon his father’s reasoning for declining to run in 1992 before deciding if he is going to throw his hat in the presidential ring.
George J. Marlin, a former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the author of "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact," and "Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy." He is chairman of Aid to the Church in Need-USA. Mr. Marlin also writes for TheCatholicThing.org and the Long Island Business News. Read George J. Marlin's Reports — More Here.
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