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Note to Andrew

September 22, 2010

Dear Mr. Cuomo: 

You’re in this situation for a number of reasons: 

First, you just haven’t been campaigning hard enough. Your campaign to date has been a policy booklet and a bus tour. There have been a thousand “no comment” responses in the media. No speeches. No forums. Hardly any TV advertising. On the matter of ads: You apparently felt that you didn’t need to spend the money. Or you wanted to save as much as possible to help you advance your agenda next year. Whatever the reason, you haven’t defined yourself as a candidate, and now Carl Paladino is doing it for you. 

Second, your basic campaign strategy was flawed. You wanted to keep institutional forces of the Democratic Party at a distance so as not to appear to be an insider.  But now your base – unions, minorities and party activists – is disaffected. These blocs obviously won’t be voting for Paladino, but they might just stay home. This strategy might have worked if you were spending the money on TV ads that appealed directly to voters, but you didn’t do that. 

Third, your campaign has the wrong leadership. In this regard, it’s not the people working for you, but you. They say that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. The same thing applies in campaigns. A man who acts as his own campaign manager, his own press secretary, his own policy director, pollster and political director is setting himself up for failure. 

Here’s how to address these three problems: 

First, you need to get more active. Give a policy address or two or three. You’re one of the best public speakers in the nation. Hold a community forum. You like people, not just the concept of people. Debate your opponent. No one is more informed or articulate than you. 

Second, you need to remember who you are. You are a proud Democrat with a new vision for the state. You don’t have to buy every problem created by Democrats in the past. What you need to do is give Democrats (and the rest of New Yorkers) hope for the future. Spend the money on positive ads that explain what you want to do. 

Third, have solid people around you who have been telling you this very thing for some time. You haven’t been listening to them in part because you are afraid of making another “coat holder” comment. You need to get over this fear now. You need to trust your people. The real attack from Paladino has yet to begin. In addition, the previously fawning media is about to change. This is no time for paralysis.   

Lastly, and not to be unduly harsh, you need to reflect on something really simple that your father once said: “How you campaign is a statement about how you intend to govern.” If there is any truth to this statement, nobody should vote for you based on your performance to date. 

Good luck. 


One Comment leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    September 22, 2010 4:06 PM

    Excllent. Bravo.

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