Reading the daily newspaper shortly before retiring for the night can be an unwholesome experience.
Maybe it was a late night snack, but I still think it was an Associated Press report by Albany, NY, correspondent Marc Humbert in the May 10 Buffalo News that kept me awake in the early hours of the next day.
Of course, I know there are readers who will think that the politics of New York statelike its gun lawsis especially disturbing to anyone who lives here. My answer to them is usually that we are in the same boat as the residents of many other states. Each is a beautiful place to liveexcept for the politicians.
Politicians overshadow the lives of everyone, and not just Americans. I remember a Canadian farmer once telling me during a chat at his kitchen table that, Our politicians are just as corrupt as yours.
But the issue isnt just corruption. Its the incredible arrogance and undisguised ambition of politicians that is especially galling. Thats what first got my goat on reading Humberts report.
I first started stewing over the incredible arrogance of Andrew Cuomo, but then things got even more frightening.
Let me start by reproducing here the entire Humbert article:
Saying New York state Comptroller H. Carl McCalls attempt to sew up the 2002 Democratic nomination for governor early wont work, federal Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo declared on May 9: If Andrew Cuomo says, I want to run, the party will listen.
But Cuomo, the son of former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, still wouldnt say if he will run for the gubernatorial nomination. Im seriously considering it, he said, adding that he would not rule out a primary against McCall.
He said it was too early to be campaigning for governor and that he was concentrating his efforts on electing Al Gore president and Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Senate.
Its way too early to start working on any 2002 race, Cuomo said in a telephone interview from Virginia. I think its a distraction from what the party should be doing now.
McCall, the only African-American ever elected to statewide office in New York, has been working for several months at lining up support for a possible run for governor. He has told supporters privately that he will run. Publicly, he says he will decide after this Novembers elections.
I havent made any comments about a potential primary, nor do I intend to, McCall said in a statement, declining to comment further. I havent announced that Im running for governor, and I dont know who else will run if I do.
McCall already has the support of state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Assembly Majority Leader Michael Bragman and former Lt. Gov. Stan Lundine, among others.
Cuomo loyalists, meanwhile, have been urging New York Democrats not to get behind McCall.
That effort has met with limited success, and Cuomo said on May 9 that lining up the support of the party leaders and elected officials couldnt deliver the nomination for McCall.
In another development, the New York Daily News reported on May 9 that Cuomo and McCall are battling to be the one who nominates the first lady at the state Democratic Party convention in May.
McCall told the newspaper that he hoped he would be considered for the nominating role, but I understand their problem.
Cuomo said he knew of no battle over who would nominate Clinton. I never asked anyone about nominating the first lady, and nobody talked to me about it either, he said. Ill do whatever they think is helpful.
Cuomo said he would attend the convention and did plan to speak at it.
Party sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the likely solution to Clintons dilemma would be having her nominated by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who is retiring from the Senate at the end of this year and whose seat Clinton is seeking, and by Sen. Charles E. Schumer.
Moynihan took on the duties of introducing the first lady at her formal campaign announcement in February, Humbert concluded.
As it turns out, Schumer will be the one to officially nominate Hillary Clinton at a party conclave in the state capital tonight (May 16).
Just image that crowd: Hillary; Moynihan; Schumer; Spitzer; Cuomosfather and son; Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and a host of other Democrats, including even some who are pro-gunrare as they may be in the Empire state. But the best known Democrat in the state wont be there. More about him later.
First, I want to go back to Cuomo, the younger, and his arrogance. It flashes from Humberts article like a huge neon sign in Times Square.
If Andrew Cuomo says, I want to run, the party will listen.
That anyone who thinks he is that important to the future of his party would actually say something like that to a reporter is stunning. But then, Cuomos arrogance should come as no surprise, especially since he has been campaigning for so much public notice over the gun issue, beginning late last year.
But Cuomo is not the only arrogant and ambitious politician who talks that way. For some reason I can never understand, many politicians like to refer to themselves in the third person. It is one of their most egregious and least attractive affectations. It is even worse than when they refer to themselves in the first person plural, saying we when they mean I or us when they mean me.
If someone you met at work, on the street or in a restaurant constantly referred to themselves by name when they should be saying I or me, youd think they had a mental problem. In politicians, I suppose it is also a form of abnormalcy.
But it was while stewing about Cuomos arrogance and tossing and turning to get to sleep, that I was suddenly struck by an even scarier scenario regarding the 2002 race for governor in New York state. Ill share it with you, but if you have trouble sleeping when you think of politicians, you may want to stop right here.
Here is perhaps the most frightening political scenario you could imagine. But it is possible given the politics of New York, the media infatuation with the Clintons, and the peculiar fog that has fallen across the brains of many votersnot just in New York but across America.
Whether or not Hillary wins her race for the US Senate this year, she will not be the best known Democrat living here. Neither is Andrew Cuomo, or any of the current state officials, like McCall. So all of this positioning for the governors mansion may all be moot.
The 800-pound gorilla in New York politics will be ex-President William Jefferson Clinton. And, if he says hes interested in the Democrats nomination for governor, everyone will listeneven Cuomo the younger.
Some readers may think this suggestion is a product of a fevered mind with too little sleep. But it is not that far-fetched.
Bill Clinton is a consummate political animal. Hes been in some kind of political office since he went to Georgetown University. In the last 20 years or so, he hasnt known what living in a private house is all about. And he certainly isnt going to be mowing the lawn or dumping the garbage at the Chappaqua house after he leaves the White House. And he certainly isnt going to play second fiddle to Hillary.
From Clintons standpoint, and that of the Democrats who want to regain control of the US Senate and the governors mansion in New York, Hillary becoming a senator and Bill the governor would be a dream come through.
For the rest of us it might be a nightmareincluding for the ambitious and supremely arrogant Andrew Cuomo.
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