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Defending Andrew Cuomo, Sort of…

May 13, 2010

Now we know why Andrew Cuomo is avoiding the campaign. He’s terrible at it. 

Yes, he’s going to be the next governor and he’s going to be a very good one who finally gets the state moving in the right direction again, but he sucks in making strategic campaign decisions for himself. 

At issue is Rick Lazio’s charge that Cuomo intimidates people and can be demeaning.   

What does Andrew do in response? He overreacts. He trots out – of all people — Charlie King to hit back hard: “He (Lazio) has resorted to spouting outrageous lies that have no basis in fact in order to get attention for his failing campaign…It’s actually quite pathetic!” 

Outrageous lies? It was Charlie King himself who had a bitter falling out with Cuomo in 2006 and then went around the state saying that Cuomo was a thug. 

This episode with Lazio demonstrates the classic Cuomo response to any problematic issue: Deny it. Challenge the veracity, integrity and sanity of the person making the comment, and then deny it again. 

Alas, everyone knows that Cuomo can be …well…let’s just say intense. 

This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. That’s because you need real intensity and toughness to be a good governor.  If you lack it – you get David Paterson. If you can’t control it – you get Eliot Spitzer. 

We’re hoping that Cuomo has just the right amount of intensity and toughness, and that he’ll know when to push and when to compromise. 

We’re hoping that he checks his tendency to challenge every premise and savage every critic.

We’re also hoping that it finally occurs to him that he needs to start a real campaign based on issues. In this regard, if he doesn’t fill the vacuum, he’s going to get more probing of his personality instead of his policy.

And really, this whining complaint from Lazio was nothing. If Lazio was a real threat, he’d have tried to connect the dots. He’d have cited people in the legal community who question the over-aggressive tactics of some Cuomo staffers.   

This is one area where Cuomo might actually have a little explaining to do, but not over charges that he can be ornery at times.

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