New York Daily News
Best Dem for big job
Andrew Cuomo is the primary pick
New York’s Democrats will soon nominate Andrew Cuomo as their candidate for governor in a walkover primary election against a wholly unqualified candidate who is pitching herself as a truer “progressive” than he is.
On those terms, the race is absurd. Only cuckoos on the farthest left would find the governor to be wanting as a liberal Democrat and, still loonier, undeserving of a nomination vote for a second term.
Flat out: Cuomo has been a superior governor.
He imposed order on a long-dysfunctional state capital, secured timely, disciplined budgets and enhanced services while cutting middle-class taxes.
He stood up for children by vigorously supporting charter schools, delivered on a promise to fully fund pre-K education with a smarter plan than Mayor de Blasio’s and drove the teacher-union-dominated Legislature to enact a workable teacher evaluation system.
He led confidently in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, jumpstarted construction of a new cross-Hudson Tappan Zee Bridge, enacted pension reforms that eluded all his predecessors and produced an Obamacare website that connected New Yorkers and health insurers with relatively few glitches.
In short, Democratic Party voters can vote enthusiastically for a forceful, activist governor whose social agenda should thrill all but the most extreme litmus-test partisans.
On that score, Cuomo corralled the votes to legalize gay marriage in New York, signed a minimum wage hike and, at political cost, secured America’s toughest gun controls after the Sandy Hook massacre.
Near and dear to the heart of this editorial page, the governor also won salary and benefit boosts for 12,000 workers who had been trapped in poverty-level service jobs at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports.
Cuomo’s record is a testament to pragmatism, effective politicking and fealty to a Democratic philosophy stretching back through his father to Franklin Roosevelt.
True enough, his misadventure in the handling and shutdown of the Moreland anti-corruption commission has shadowed his administration. But what must be understood is that under Cuomo’s bludgeoning, the Legislature did produce ethics reform measures.
Unimaginable before he took office, the progress required relentless gubernatorial tongue lashings and offer-you-can’t-refuse negotiations. He won tougher criminal penalties for corruption, redrew the penal law to better define official misconduct and improved disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.
Theoretically, had Cuomo kept the commission in business he may have won more — heavy emphasis on “theoretically” and “may have.” With Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Republican chief Dean Skelos dead set against transparency, the assumption that a New York governor can force the Legislature, seat of all Albany schmutz, to clean up its act is bunk.
Two Democrats are challenging Cuomo. Randy Credico is, literally, a comedian. Zephyr Teachout is a Fordham Law School professor who has neither governmental experience nor any private sector accomplishment remotely suggesting qualification to lead America’s third-largest state.
Displaying dreamy ignorance about the realities of governing, she is running strictly as a protest candidate whose “life’s work has been devoted to preserving democracy.” Her fantastic cure-all for New York is public campaign financing — never mind that it will never fly in the Legislature.
Democrats who worship public financing as the be-all-and-end-all still should need an awfully strong stomach to vote for Teachout.
If you’re one of the millions who are about to receive middle-class tax rebates, be advised that her economic policies would surely kill them.
If you’re a suburban Democrat, stand warned that she would certainly have to repeal Cuomo’s historic, money-saving 2% tax cap.
If you happen to be a Democrat — Jewish or other — who is concerned about Middle Eastern affairs, take note that Teachout refused to take a stand on the war between Israel and Hamas.
This Daily News endorsement is definite and unequivocal: Democrats should rally behind Cuomo on Sept. 9.
Those who like his progressive achievements — from gay marriage to gun controls to the minimum wage — will back his commitments to passing a Dream Act for young undocumented immigrants, as well as his Women’s Equality Agenda.
Those who value Cuomo’s firm grip on state government, wise spending priorities and focus on economic growth — as The News does — will empower his job-creation and education-reform plans.
The bigger Cuomo’s tally and the larger his margin of victory, the greater his muscle will be as he embarks on an all-but-certain second term. A vote for Cuomo will be a vote for the futures of the Democratic Party and New York.