Monday, May 26, 2014

Two prominent Democrats Complain About Cuomo's Pick For Lieutenant Governor

With dissatisfaction growing amongst Democrats, Gov. Cuomo faces a bumpy reelection campaign

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Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo going to get his neoliberal ass handed back to him in the form of collapsing opinion polling leading up to this year's gubernatorial election (à la Christine Quinn in last year's mayoral election) ? One can only hope.

Fred Dicker in today's The New York Post reports that more and more brave Democratic leaders, some of whom can hardly be called on to form a coalition for anything, are speaking up in a rare unified voice of dissatisfaction with Gov. Cuomo's reelection campaign.

Bill Samuels is seriously considering a primary challenge to Gov. Cuomo's pick for lieutenant governor, former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, based on her work as a bank lobbyist, work that Mr. Samuels rejects as in contravention of the state's progressive sensibilities.

Mr. Samuels, who is described having "millions to spend," could upset Gov. Cuomo's plans for an avalanche reelection margin of victory.

Joining Mr. Samuels in expressing dissatisfaction with Gov. Cuomo's pick for lieutenant governor is none other than radical right wing Bronx conservative Democrat, Sen. Ruben Diaz. Generally counted on to espouse bigoted positions on social issues, Sen. Diaz shocked the conscious of middle of the road Democrats when he reasonably objected to Ms. Hochul's selection based on her own incredulous radical right wing rejection of the Dream Act, a proposed state law that would, amongst other things, allow undocumented college students who meet in-state tuition requirements to qualify for state financial aid and scholarships for higher education. The Dream Act is supported by progressive Democrats, but Ms. Hochul has a record of opposing legislation that would end aspects of de jure discrimination against undocumented immigrants.

Democrats have several reasons to be disgusted with Gov. Cuomo. His neoliberal record of closing five New York City hospitals during his first term under the guise of "Medicaid reform" were nothing more than a scorched earth campaign of austerity cuts to healthcare for the poor, the sick, and people of color in the urban neighborhoods of New York City. To undermine pressure for reforms from the political left, Gov. Cuomo enabled a break-away faction of Democratic state senators to form an unholy alliance with Republican state senators to jam the state legislature into gridlock. His recent budget reforms amounted to more tax cuts for the wealthy at the continuing expense of the working class and the poor. Finally, his cockblocking of ethics and campaign finance reforms up in Albany was so foul that federal prosecutors could no longer turn their backs to the governor's alleged obstruction of justice. Government reform activists in New York City are eagerly awaiting to see if a grand jury empaneled by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan will hand down indictments of corrupt Cuomo administration officials.

If Gov. Cuomo's reelection is already triggering backlash from disparate corners of the state's Democratic Party, it foretells of a long hot wilting summer for the governor's popularity. Already, the governor is calling on electoral help from the Dan Cantor, New York executive director of the Wrecking Families Party, to fluff his reelection campaign.

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