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Cuomo's Handling of Pandemic a Threat to Trump, If ...

Cuomo's Handling of Pandemic a Threat to Trump, If ...
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty Images)

By Monday, 30 March 2020 10:59 AM Current | Bio | Archive

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has emerged in the 2020 presidential race, rising from the depths of the Media-Politico Complex like Godzilla from Tokyo Harbor. The betting odds still strongly favor Biden. However, having vanquished his declared rivals, Biden, suddenly, has turned strangely invisible. And Gov. Cuomo has thrust himself into the spotlight.

Coincidentally, both Cuomo and I were born in Queens and rose in Albany. Thus I have a long, albeit shallow, history with the Cuomo dynasty. A few scraps might be worth sharing. First, an overview. Here is how Cuomo could make a formidable rival to Trump.

The pandemic has changed the something of the 2020 election. It mostly had been a referendum on Donald Trump and the associated job creation and wage growth. Now the economy is a shut-in. The financial markets are in bear territory. The scope of the threat of the pandemic remains unclear.

This has turned the 2020 election into one about who is best fit to lead America out of the hot zone. How shall we both keep our most vulnerable safe and flatten the curve to minimize the casualties  while avoiding a new Great Depression? That's it.

Now, the backstory. Almost 40 years ago I was a fledging lawyer based in Albany, N.Y.. Mario Cuomo, New York's lieutenant governor, was also based in Albany, the state capital. Meanwhile, businessman and philanthropist Lewis E. Lehrman reached out to me around our mutual passion for the gold standard. Just then I saw Lt. Gov. Cuomo, a minor but rising political star, on local public TV flagging Lehrman as a potential contender in the upcoming governor's race. 

I became a high-level volunteer in the Lehrman gubernatorial campaign's upstate headquarters. As such I was privy to the gossip and gritty details of the campaign first watching Cuomo battle and defeat NYC mayor Ed Koch for the nomination. Then came the pitched battles with Lehrman,. who, shocking the political establishment, was on track to win.

Then, mysteriously, Lehrman's campaign TV commercial buys went dark throughout upstate for almost 10 days prior to the election. By the time Lehrman campaign HQ in NYC discovered that upstate had gone dark and got them running again there wasn't enough time to repair our vote deficit. Mario Cuomo won a close race, just maybe not fairly but certainly squarely.  

Hey, as Mr. Dooley said, "Politics ain't beanbag.” There's no crying in baseball.

Shortly thereafter I was able to plant the suggestion, through a mutual friend, that Gov. Cuomo name the Empire State Plaza tower building, the tallest skyscraper between NYC and Montreal, in honor of Albany's beloved, dying, mayor Erastus Corning, 2nd. Cuomo promptly did so. Soon thereafter I got tipped off that Gov. Cuomo was going to be making an appearance at the local PBS affiliate's telethon.

I volunteered to answer phones that night and, there, handed Mario Cuomo Jude Wanniski's The Way The World Works. This book had inspired me to enlist in the supply-side revolution. Cuomo took it and remarked, "Hey, I know this book. It's Jack Kemp's bible. I'll read it with interest. Thanks!” At my prompt Jude contacted Cuomo but nothing came of it.

Mario Cuomo went on to serve honorably as governor for three terms even without adopting the supply-side agenda. He is mostly now remembered for an eloquent speech at the 1984 Democratic nominating convention. "A Tale of Two Cities” was a soaring flight of political rhetoric, propelling him to party stardom, and for a long coy flirtation with a presidential run. The Democrats who adopted the supply-side agenda of equitable prosperity, Bill Bradley and Dick Gephardt, rose in national stature.

Now Gov. Andrew Cuomo is showing himself to be even more politically astute than his late father. He has lapped all other major Democrats, all obsessed with parochial issues like the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, gun control and whatnot. Cuomo, alone among the Donks, has his eye on the ball. It's the pandemic, stupid. Ending the pandemic's carnage to our health and financial security has become, per Red Sanders, not everything but the only thing.

The pandemic delivers an epic challenge. It demands a hero. Biden's inability to project himself as a warrior rather than a mere avuncular figure could cause his viability, and even candidacy, to falter.

Desperate times demand a leader of epic stature.

A champion.

A conqueror.

A lion-heart.

A hero.

Cuomo is nailing this.

Trump can run rings around Cuomo. 

He cuts a leonine figure.

He mesmerizes the media.

His declarations are grandiose.

He controls vast political apparatus.

Trump can trump Cuomo. Unless, that is, Andrew Cuomo finds The Way The World Works, whose message of equitable prosperity proved irresistible to both left and right, in his late father's library and steals Trump's playbook.

Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $83T. He served as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House, has worked closely with the Congress and two cabinet agencies, and has published over a million words on politics and policy in the mainstream media, as a distinguished professional blogger, and as the author of the internationally award-winning cult classic book "The Websters' Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World." He has served as senior adviser, economics, to APIA as an advocate of the gold standard, senior counselor to the Chamber of Digital Commerce and serves as general counsel to Frax.finance, a stablecoin venture. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Cuomo, alone among the Donks, has his eye on the ball. It's the pandemic, stupid.
cuomo, biden, trump, coronavirus
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2020-59-30
Monday, 30 March 2020 10:59 AM
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