By Robert A. Vella

Throughout American history, there have been all sorts of politicians in the Democratic Party.  Andrew Jackson embodied its aggressive and violent side, as he vigorously went after the British, Native Americans, Wall Street bankers, and anyone else who stood in his way.  South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun, and the Dixiecrats of the mid-20th century, represented the party’s domination by racist white supremacists.  William Jennings Bryan and Jimmy Carter projected religion into the Democratic Party.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt espoused its economic populist sentiments, Huey P. Long its left-wing radicalism, and George McGovern its liberal anti-war and egalitarian side.

However, all these myriad politicians were Democrats first.  Their despised opponents were Republicans.  Political warfare in those days was mano a mano, party versus party, and no civil quarter was given.

Now, there is another kind of Democrat – one who wears the party label, but acts like an establishment Republican.  His name is Andrew Cuomo, and he is the current Governor of New York – one of the bluest states in the nation.  Cuomo has repeatedly expressed contempt for the populist base of the Democratic Party, which twice helped him get elected, and his actions as governor have been unabashedly corporatist.

The latest news from this political wolf in sheep’s clothing is astounding.  From the Daily KosCuomo: New Yorkers have all the health care they need:

Remote Area Medical was founded in 1985 to provide medical care in developing nations. But now, the need here at home has grown so great that more than 80 percent of their work is in the U.S. They’ve held more than 700 three-to-five day clinics offering medical, dental, and vision services at no cost to hundreds of thousands of patients. They were ready to bring their clinic to serve more than 7,000 people in New York City on November 28, an event that would have been RAM’s large clinic ever held. But just two weeks before it was scheduled to open, the clinic had to be cancelled. Why? Because Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it’s unnecessary.

Further reading:

Cuomo bashes the ‘extreme left’

Cuomo’s camp admits to keeping Republicans in control of Senate

Working Families Party knocks their candidate — Cuomo

Debi Rose, the Working Families Party and a little Andrew Cuomo.

2 thoughts on “NY Governor Andrew Cuomo: A political wolf in sheep’s clothing

  1. Excellent observations, Robert.
    Let me add two points.
    First, the current leader of the national Democrats is almost as Republican. His distinction is that he sounds “liberal” and lets others (Gibbs, Emanuel) bash the “left.” But h has done much more damage to the party than the Governor of New York (who learned his “triangulation” trade from the original quisling: Bill Clinton).
    Second, New York state politics is much like Medieval theology. Outsiders can’t understand it. But as near as I can tell, all the “players” including the liberal icon, the current Governor’s father always wanted a Republican controlled senate. That way, the three people who handle all legislation (with powers greater than any other single leglslators in any other stat) can ensure that anything or nothing can get done. The three “men in a room” are the President of the Senate (always moderate Republican), speaker of the Assembly (always “leftish” Democrat, and the Governor, always self-promotional).
    I never understood why Mario Cuomo was uninterested in campaigning against Republican senators in close districts, especially when the Republicans held the Senate by only one or two seats. Then I learned from those with Albany smarts how the state works. It has nothing to do with party platforms or partisan politics. It is simply an oligarchy.
    That said, the current leader of the triumvirate is particularly right-wing. But Democrats in New York, like Democrats everywhere, dont seem much interested.


    • Fascinating insight. The conventional maxim seems to apply here: “all politics is local.” That said, I’ve got to question the left-bashing strategy of a Democratic governor with presidential ambitions. I’ve never seen a political candidate yet who won his party’s nomination by alienating its base. In New York, Cuomo faced no legitimate challenge from the right. On the national stage, he won’t have that luxury.


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