LONSBERRY: Andy Should Run For President

I loathe Andy Cuomo.

               He has been a scourge upon my people and place, an enemy of the culture and liberty of rural upstate New York. He is in every way a foreign despot grinding his subjects beneath his royal slippers. The only thing worse than his political philosophy is his personal character. He is an arrogant son of a bitch who demands not just subjugation, but obeisance.

               In another era, we would march against him in rebellion.

               I hate him that much.

               That point made clear, I think he should run for president.

               I would never vote for him, and I would pray and work for his defeat. But as an outside observer of the internal workings of the national Democratic Party, he should announce a candidacy and see how it plays out.

               As the field of Democratic presidential wannabes gets larger and more comical, the rationale for a Cuomo candidacy becomes more obvious. He is, compared to them, dramatically more qualified.

               Andrew Cuomo was born to the breed, and has spent his life exercising power within his party and in a succession of government offices. The Democratic candidates are, thus far, a field of minor leaguers. Their resumes are token and their preparation for presidential power are not impressive. Cuomo, by comparison, is a giant.

               As a very young man, he was running his father’s gubernatorial campaigns in bare-knuckle New York. That is not insignificant, and it is reminiscent of the early political preparation of George W. Bush, who ultimately became a two-term American president.

               Andy Cuomo then went on to marry a Kennedy and run in those political circles, another unique opportunity to learn. He subsequently was appointed to the presidential cabinet of Bill Clinton, serving as secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

               Working in a federal administration, learning the ropes of running a large federal bureaucracy serving millions of people, those things can give a person experience and insight which can be valuable.

               Cuomo went on to be New York attorney general and then seized the governor’s office, which he has now won in three successive elections. Over that time, he has imposed an agenda that seems like an advertisement for the progressive priorities of the Democratic Party. During that time, while controversy and corruption have circled around him, he has nonetheless avoided being implicated in it.

               He has also, as governor, been able to forge coalitions with a succession of legislative leaders and priorities. He has also beaten back challenges from other Democrats, to include the current mayor of New York City.

               Simply put, Andy Cuomo is prepared and qualified to be president.

               It makes me nauseous to say that. And I say it as his political enemy. But it is true.

               And if he has somewhere an aspiration to be president, or if he feels some sense of duty to his party or the country, he should throw his hat in the ring. We may no longer live in a world where merit has relevance in politics, but among all the potential Democratic candidates, there is no one – not even Joe Biden – who has a resume as varied and deep as Andrew Cuomo.

               The Democratic presidential aspirants are a bunch of speech givers and bomb throwers. They are talkers and activists, people who rose on a cause or a race, piggybacking on the rage of one disaffected group or another. They might well be able to win an election, but there is little hope that they could lead a country. And there is almost nothing in the backgrounds of any of them that leads you to believe they could administer an organization as large as the executive branch of the federal government.

               Nor is there anything to make you think that any of them have the grit to go toe to toe with some foreign despot or international rival.

               Except Cuomo.

               He’s run one of the biggest states in the Union for many years. He’s negotiated political hurdles at the state and federal level. He doesn’t back down from anybody. And he would be a good representative of the progressive philosophy of the Democratic Party.

               He would be a good candidate for his party, and if he got elected he could do the job.

               I detest him and what he has done to my part of our state. But objectively, laying aside my prejudices and principles, he’s better than anybody else the Democrats have.

               He should be a presidential candidate. Democrats across the country ought to have that choice.

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