Dumping Biden for Cuomo?
There's some chatter among some Democrats these days about Joe Biden's future. Biden, the Obama's administration's comic relief, may not bring enough to the Democrat ticket in 2012 to help Mr. Obama avoid defeat. The idea that vice presidential candidates drive tickets is amusing. Yet the idea persists, so freshman New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's name is being floated as Biden's possible replacement.
The buzz about Cuomo emanates chiefly from his signing a gay marriage measure into law in the Empire State. Cuomo's championing gay marriage is, of course, why liberals consider Cuomo vice presidential material -- or even presidential timber in 2016.
Gay marriage -- gay anything, as a matter of fact -- is a Good Thing among liberals, most of whom roost in the Democratic Party and the mainstream media. But how does Cuomo's stand on gay marriage play in Peoria -- or in precincts other than Manhattan, Cambridge, Berkeley, and the like?
Does anyone except in-the-bubble liberals believe that white working-class voters, who are overwhelmingly traditional in their mores and values, and are more apt to practice religion, favor gay marriage? There are plenty of white working-class voters in places like Ohio and Michigan, North Carolina and Virginia. Do liberals really believe that gay marriage plays among working-class cohorts in these critical states?
What about Hispanics? The myth is that Hispanics are undeniably, irretrievably trending Democrat. More Hispanics do vote Democrat than Republican in most elections, but not nearly as lopsidedly as African-Americans vote for Democrats. A large segment of the Hispanic vote remains in play, and Republicans need only claim a larger share of Hispanics to eat into Democrat vote totals in New Mexico, for example. Hispanics are typically culturally and religiously conservative. Cuomo's ushering in the gay marriage law isn't exactly a fit with Hispanic sensibilities.
But Cuomo is more than the gays' governor. Earlier in the year, National Review's Deroy Murdock penned a giddy tribute to Cuomo's fight against Albany's Democrat establishment. Cuomo, as presented by Murdock, was a fiscal conservative in Democrat garb. Since then, though, other assessments of Cuomo's fiscal conservatism have been made, especially in the area of pension reform.
As E.J. McMahon wrote about Cuomo's pension approach for the Manhattan Institute:
The problem is not only the [pension] system's cost but its basic structure, which is dauntingly complex, encourages excess and abuse, and needlessly exposes taxpayers to open-ended financial risk and volatility.
Hence, cutting some costs doesn't begin to address the structural problems that caused New York state pensions to have exploded in the first place. Cuomo's budget cuts -- such as they are -- are merely breathers on the road to future escalating pension costs, among other state budget items.
New York is still dominated by labor unions and the teacher unions, who constitute powerful parts of the Democratic Party's base. Governor Cuomo will challenge the unions at a structural level at his political peril. In other words, Cuomo's budget cuts are expedients to get New York through the national economic crisis, as best possible. Longer-term, with a revived national economy, New Yorkers can bet their remaining hard-earned dollars that Albany's liberal-controlled legislature will resume taxing and spending as of yore.
Andrew Cuomo is attractive to many liberals because they tend to see themselves as typical rather than not. New York is a blue state with deep structural problems and a political class -- including Governor Cuomo -- who lack the interest and will to attack the state's problems at fundamental levels.
Like his father and former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Andrew Cuomo is an overrated commodity, who plays well among the fossil media and liberal elites, chiefly on the coasts.
Say what you want about Joe Biden, but at least he's good for some laughs. Even Barack Obama needs a laugh at times, too.