Tonawanda News

Columns

January 12, 2014

DUVALL: Christie and Cuomo a study in contrasts

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Then there’s the Empire State, where our guy, Andrew Cuomo, is assiduously courting every voter in the state with some kind of plan — tax cuts for Republicans, a multi-billion education bond proposal for the teachers’ unions, gun control and gay marriage for the liberals. It’s how governors build a national profile as a pragmatic leader who’s willing to work with friends and enemies alike.

On balance, Cuomo has been the state’s most effective governor in a very long time. He’s got political skill and a keen sense of how to persuade us he’s doing a whole lot of stuff. (A billion dollars for Buffalo? Wow!)

There’s a fine line between the idealistic take that Cuomo really is an advocate for better government and the cynic’s take he’s just building a resume to become president one day.

Either way, it’s a pleasant change that it’s some other state’s governor standing before a bank of cameras begging for forgiveness. New York voters have got the sackcloth-and-ashes routine down pat by now.

Political chatterers have long speculated both men harbor presidential ambitions. Christie almost certainly does, though how his brash style plays in docile Iowa and buttoned-up New Hampshire remains to be seen.

Cuomo, of course, has a Hillary problem. If she runs, she wins the nomination hands down. And does anyone really think she isn’t going to run?

His best bet is to keep doing what he’s doing. Cuomo has very cagily used his time in Albany to position himself as a pol in Hillary’s image — a tough, pragmatic, results-oriented, hard-working, centrist politician who appeals to the party base. In other words, a perfect VP nominee. 

Christie faces a real fight — probably a losing one — against extremely conservative tea party primary voters deeply skeptical of his blue state background.

Cuomo could find himself on a national ticket without ever having to run.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact him at eric.duvall@tonawanda-news.com or follow him on Twitter, @EricRDuVall.

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