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The Non-Existent 2010 Campaign

April 6, 2010

The last several years in New York State politics have been rather unsettled. (An understatement if ever there was one.) One of the casualties during a period like this is context. In the swirl of events, we lose our ability to gauge what is “normal” and what isn’t.  

One major area where reporters, pundits and political junkies appear to have lost all context is the normal campaign cycle in New York.

In this regard, statewide elections are now about six months away and we do not yet have a declared Democratic candidate. Simply put, there’s never been a situation like this in modern times.

To see why this is true, all one has to do is Google. When did Spitzer declare his intention to run and when did he begin to stake out public policy positions? Was it six months before the election? Was it nine months? Was it a year?   

For the answer see: “Spitzer, With Little Fanfare, Says He Will Run for Governor,” by Michael Slackman, NYT,  December 8, 2004.

Spitzer declared a year before the election. By this time in the cycle, he had selected a running mate (January 2005) and he had given a series of major policy addresses. On the economy, Spitzer had made news by suggesting that parts of the Upstate were like “Appalachia.” On health care, he’d already accused SEIU 1199 of standing in the way of reforms that could improve health care. Moreover, the New York Post and New York Times had done lengthy pieces examining Spitzer’s temperament. (The irony!)

What’s the point of these reminiscences? Well, our serious point is this: We are way overdue in starting a real gubernatorial campaign in New York State. This is not acceptable. This is a time when New York desperately needs a real, robust, issue-oriented public debate. Those who would lead us cannot just sit on the sidelines.

We’re of course referring to Andrew Cuomo, whom we hope and expect will be the person to finally turn this state around and set it on a path toward some kind of resurgence. But how are we to know what Cuomo will do when he refuses to engage? And why is he being given a free pass by the mainstream media?

As great as our hopes are for Cuomo’s candidacy, we believe that what he is now doing is wrong. He’s acting in his own self-interest, not the greater interest of the people of New York, who expect and deserve to know his plans for the state.

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