Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cuomo Takes The Bully Pulpit

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Tuesday morning in a radio interview called for what he described as “clarity” on a number of contentious issues.

Cuomo said he wants votes on public financing, his anti-corruption proposals and a measure that would strengthen abortion laws.

Oh, and lawmakers shouldn’t use the excuse of not having silly things like details to ask for more time to study the issue or not hold a vote.

In all, Cuomo used his 30 minutes on The Capitol Pressroom to assume the bully pulpit and apply some public pressure on the Legislature and specifically the Independent Democratic Conference in the Senate.

Cuomo openly questioned whether the coalition of Republicans and (now) four independent Democrats was a good set up for “progressive” politics if they failed to act on his version of the reproductive health act.

There’s a flip side to taking this approach. Broadly speaking, the governor tends to have more leverage over the Legislature during the budget negotiations. The spending plan for 2013-14 is now in place and the playing field in Albany is becoming a bit more level. Yes, Cuomo still has the wheel, but now others are trying to shove him aside to pilot the plane.

Then there’s the issue of political capital and Cuomo has expended a considerable amount of it in part due to the January gun control law.

Consider that Cuomo is also already framing this legislative session as a productive one, what with the gun law and the budget passing well in advance of the April 1 deadline.

But the governor is in danger of reaching the fatigue factor with both voters and the Legislature. His poll numbers took a hit after gun control, but he remains popular and, barring unforeseen events and a viable Republican opponent that could beat him (the political equivalent of a unicorn at this point), Cuomo will likely win re-election.

Still, some lawmakers are quietly grumbling that after more than two years of Cuomo’s administration their issues and voices aren’t being heard. They don’t necessarily want Albany to be a debating society, either, but would like to have some impact on how business is conducted at the Capitol.


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