Chicago politics may be worse than New York, but it’s often a close race.
Andrew Cuomo came to power by pushing out a blind black governor from his own party using third-party scandal attacks. It didn’t take him long to launch that same campaign against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
An initial attempt at going after Silver using Vito Lopez’s harassment issues failed no matter how hard motivated media liberals tried to keep the story alive.
A new effort targeting his chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel, through her husband, who headed a politically connected charity, has proven to be more successful. The husband faces charges and Silver’s refusal to fire Judy Rapfogel may end up dragging him down.
But a lot of New York Dems, unenthusiastic about Andrew Cuomo’s campaign against his own party, are turning the tables on the political boss by going after his Lieutenant Governor.
The Democratic leaders of the Legislature may seek to turn the tables on Gov. Cuomo by formally requesting that his anti-corruption Moreland Commission probe Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy’s “questionable’’ dealings with a Rochester business group, The Post has learned.
Aides to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) Leader Jeff Klein, of The Bronx, are discussing the move with Republicans in response to what they call Cuomo’s illegal effort to have his Moreland panel probe lawmakers’ dealings with clients at their private law firms.
Duffy, a former Rochester mayor, is under intense scrutiny after the recent revelation that he secretly interviewed for a lucrative job at the Rochester Business Alliance (RBA) at a time when he headed a program to award hundreds of millions of dollars in regional economic-development grants.
That revelation produced seemingly contradictory statements by Cuomo, his aides and Duffy over the timing of the interview and what Duffy had told the governor about it.
“The question the Moreland Commission should answer is: What did the governor know and when did he know it,’’ a senior legislative aide told The Post.
So Cuomo, who is basically a more discreet Spitzer, is going to campaign on ethics, against a Democratic legislature.
Meanwhile, Cuomo is gearing up to make the Legislature’s ethics a central theme of his re-election campaign next year.
“The governor will focus on an ethics package right through the [next] legislative session and if it’s not completed, he will make it a litmus test for next November,’’ a Cuomo administration source said Sunday.
“The governor will run against any legislator who doesn’t support a final [ethics] package, Democrat or Republican,’’ the source continued.
The source called Klein’s apparent willingness to join with Republicans on several issues including the Moreland Commission, “a fundamental betrayal of the Democratic Party.”
Cuomo, as usual, is confusing the Democratic Party with himself. But now the Assembly Democrats and Andrew Cuomo, a Democratic governor, are going to be running against each other while firing off ethics charges against each other.
The governor’s poll ratings still hover in 50-50 territory. He’s widely hated outside New York City and he’s about to get into a fight with Bill de Blasio.
Republicans in some other states could probably figure out how to take advantage of this mess, but tri-state area GOPers are lucky to be able to put their pants on without a planning commission.
Andrew Cuomo is repeating most of Spitzer’s errors. He has alienated the Assembly, made everyone outside New York City hate his guts and is too busy planning a run for the White House to consider the possibility that the alliances built up against him will crush him at the faintest hint of criminality.
He has learned a few tricks since he was putting up flyers calling Ed Koch a “fag”, but most of them involve escaping blame for similar tactics.
Cuomo, like Spitzer, is a sociopath, whose only redeeming quality is that he doesn’t practice the direct approach, preferring to use media contacts to destroy his political enemies. But like Spitzer, Cuomo’s ruthlessness is very close to stupidity.
Both governors assumed that they could use the bully pulpit to carry them forward and that they could enhance the power of the governor’s office by destroying any legislative opponents. Cuomo has moved even more aggressively than Spitzer. But he would have been far wiser to seek out Assembly allies to prep for the White House, instead of turning them into enemies. Cuomo may end up destroying a lot of his enemies, but the odds are good that they’ll tar him enough that he will no longer have a path to the White House.