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Big Picture Stuff

January 19, 2015

The fear was that he’d run out of gas, lose his way, go into an extended funk, pull a Pataki.

You saw odd signs beginning in the fall.  The election performance was uninspired. There was no articulation of what the next term would be about. There was the crazy WFP episode and subsequent failure to follow through on commitments he’d made to the left. There were ill-advised comments toward the end of the race that needlessly antagonized the base.

He won and dropped out of sight. People close to him said he wasn’t being communicative. There were whispers about the situation with the father. He seemed distracted.

There was the possibility of a special session tied to a pay raise, but that situation wasn’t handled well. Lawmakers felt like he played them and embarrassed them.

Just before the holidays, if you assessed the man and his prospects with any kind of objectivity, you were going to have some real doubts.

But then…

Then came fracking, casinos and medical marijuana in quick succession.

Then the Garner matter, and his unhesitating intervention, around Mayor DeBlasio, into police matters and justice reform.

Then there was the eulogy. And rather than seeing someone struggling to come to terms with a death – as almost anyone would be under those circumstances – you saw a person with a completely thought out integration of his father’s philosophy and his own.

Then there was a comprehensive overhauling of the staff. New people and new spin about the “tenor” of the administration.

Mix in a Thruway purge, skirmishes with PEF and education advocates.

Add announcements of scheduled of overseas travel – Davos, Mexico and Cuba.

And now there is an effective, if unorthodox, rollout of SOS/Budget initiatives:  property tax relief; upstate economic development, the minimum wage increase,  small biz tax cuts, college sexual assault, the college loans, broadband, brownfields, and a pay raise commission.

And there’s more to come.

How it all fits together, how he’s positioning himself and for what, and whether it’s a head-spinning mish-mash contrary to his own famous advice to his father to focus on two or three broad initiatives or some brilliant new style of governing to which we can finally attach some kind of clever new age label – presumably we get answers to these questions on Wednesday.

One thing is clear, though, we don’t have to worry about him lacking energy, initiative or decisiveness.

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