Andrew the Magnanimous

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Prince Andrew the Magnanimous?

by James Ostrowski

When I first heard that Mario, I mean Andrew, Cuomo was dropping out of the race for Governor of New York, I thought about a scandal. However, when I heard that Bill Clinton was going to attend the press conference, I decided that this was about something more insidious than a scandal. Besides, the Cuomos are too monomaniacal in pursuit of power to get tangled up in a petty scandal. No, I quickly realized that this was a calculated political move.

Cuomo realized he would lose the Democratic primary election to Carl McCall and that McCall would lose to George Pataki in November, thus giving young Cuomo another chance in four years when Pataki retires into a warm-weather ambassadorship. (McCall is doomed in November because Pataki has already purchased enough votes to win.) So Andrew got out while the getting out was good. He converted a purely self-serving act into an apparent display of party-unifying statesmanship. In a word, brilliant. The Cuomos are nothing if not brilliant.

All of this raises a few questions, though. Why was Andrew running in the first place? According to Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, quoted in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on Wednesday, Cuomo "never produced a rationale for his candidacy." That’s okay. I will. Cuomo says he will vote for and support Carl McCall. He could have voted for McCall without spending five million dollars first. As a casual observer of the campaign, I could discern no differences between the two on issues or philosophy. Cuomo’s only real "issue" was that, had he been Governor, he would have elbowed Rudy Giuliani out of the way of the cameras in the days following September 11th. Cuomo’s main substantive issue was homelessness. Funny that he never considered starting a construction company.

As for qualifications, Cuomo’s main executive experience was a stint at HUD, that can best be described as HUD-like (and that ain’t good). In contrast, McCall’s tenure as state comptroller has been uneventful, which is a plus. You don’t want an eventful tenure if you are a comptroller. Also, for a New York Democratic politician, McCall isn’t too bad. Not being Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, or Eliot Spitzer is surely worth some sort of prize.

Thus, by the process of elimination (of bull), we arrive at the conclusion that Prince Andrew ran because he likes power. When he realized that by continuing to run, he was jeopardizing his prospects for future power, he ran away. If I am wrong, then Andrew Kennedy Cuomo should and would have spent the last few days of the primary election explaining to the voters why he was running, other than to satisfy his familial lust for power.

September 6, 2002

James Ostrowski is an attorney practicing at 984 Ellicott Square, Buffalo, New York 14203; (716) 854-1440; FAX 853-1303. See his website at

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