There is little doubt that Andrew Cuomo is positioning himself to run for governor in 2010. Most political analysts regard Governor Paterson as a weak candidate and an ineffective leader, thereby vulnerable to challenge.
While Cuomo has had some successes as attorney general, he is a pedestrian Democrat with the usual tax and spend impulses. His tenure as secretary of Housing and Urban Development was hardly distinguished. Moreover, those who know him well describe Mr. Cuomo as thin-skinned and without a political vision.
With a Republican party in disarray and still “waiting for Rudy,” a Republican version of Waiting for Godot, the Democratic nominee is likely to be the next governor. Therefore the contest within a contest is the competition between Cuomo and Paterson and whether President Obama’s intervention is a factor in the ultimate outcome.
To Cuomo’s credit, he has kept his powder dry while Obama has suggested Paterson step aside for the good of the party. However, Cuomo has not been tested in a major race with his party split over candidate loyalty. For New Yorkers this might be interesting, even amusing, were the stakes not so high. New York desperately needs leadership and it remains to be seen whether Cuomo can provide it.
— Herbert London is president of the Hudson Institute.