Like the United States invasion of Grenada, Gov. Andrew Cuomo rolled over someone named Zephyr Teachout this weekend, achieving a hard-fought victory to secure the endorsement of the Working Families Party in his bid for re-election while making some big political promises of his own.
Avoiding the tumult of the party’s convention, the governor addressed delegates in an extraordinary eight-and-a-half minute video statement , vowing to take political aim at a renegade group of Democrats who control the State Senate with the Republican minority.
“We must change the Senate leadership,’’ said Cuomo, singling out the five-member Independent Democratic Conference.
“We should start by telling the IDC that they must agree to return to the Democratic Party or face our unified opposition.”
But is this throwing red meat to liberal lions or a real promise? It would be fascinating if the governor actually got down and dirty and directly involved himself in Democratic primary battles with IDC members Jeff Klein and Tony Avella – or convince them to re-enter the party’s fold.
Democratic stalwarts are considering Cuomo’s promises gravy – instead focusing on private assurances given by Mayor de Blasio and unions that they’ll get heavily involved in the push to reclaim the Senate for the party. Organized labor has committed $10 million in the battle, including making independent expenditures on behalf of candidates.
There were a lot of moves in a game of three-dimensional chess for such a relatively-small endorsement – all of them significant in New York’s political landscape and they also allowed the governor to protect his left flank on the national level.
At least publicly, Cuomo yesterday was avoiding any kind of introspection, telling reporters: “Part of being a Democrat is the lively debate among the people in the party but at the end of the day, I won the endorsement and that’s what’s really relevant.”