Okay, here comes your mid-year exam. This will be a true or false test. Mark your papers T or F and please, keep your eyes off your neighbor’s paper.
T or F: As most political observers believe, Kathy Hochul will be reelected governor.
False: Certainty is never a sure thing in politics, especially here in New York. It looks like she’s a shoo-in, but we have a long way to go. A lot of political mistakes are still possible. If you don’t believe that, take a look back at Andrew Cuomo’s career.
T or F: Andrew Cuomo is planning a political comeback.
True as True can be. To know Andrew is to understand that he is by no means through with politics. To understand his ability to withstand adversity, one has to look no further than at his career thus far. He has already defeated those who would have saddled him with bad marks on his permanent record.
T or F: The late Shelly Silver received a stiffer jail term than he deserved.
True: Silver was convicted of using his office to obtain clients for his private business, Okay, folks, let’s get real here. Many of the people in both houses of the Legislature have outside businesses which regularly benefit simply by having the involvement by a legislator. Obviously, the only way to avoid this kind of perception is to forbid legislators from this obvious double duty. Some legislators argue that they are part-time, but that is nonsense and we all know it. Legislators make $110,000 a year and are allowed to have outside occupations. Shelly Silver knew he was walking the sharp side of the razor and even kidded about it. I knew him. He often appeared on our public radio programs and let no one doubt that he had fun doing it. I personally recognize that he did wrong, but I still liked the guy. While most people won’t like this, I have to say that he was quite a character.
T or F: There is a big difference between the way Carl Heastie and Sheldon Silver approached the Assembly speakership.
True: According to all reports, there is a profound difference. While all speakers everywhere insist that they take instructions from the members of their conference, those legislators with whom I have spoken tell me that Heastie is better at taking instruction from his members than Shelly was. It has always been in the interest of the members of the legislature to point out to all who would ask that the members are the boss of the speaker. That is utter nonsense and we all know it. The speaker has the power to reward his members with committee assignments and extras of all kinds. One definitely had the feeling that with Shelly, his power was personal while Heastie has a more institutional view of the job. On the other hand, what do I know?
T or F: The New York State Republican Party is a shell of itself and as a result of current gerrymandering, will now have to look down to look up (or something like that).
True: While the Republicans have some decent leadership, they are facing a real bleak future. That doesn’t mean that things can’t be reversed. Just look at the last election cycle in which the Democrats lost some ground. Now with the reapportionment in New York, it looks worse than ever for the poor elephants. The problem for the Republicans is that like so many of their ilk around their country, they can’t get out from under the stench of Donald Trump and the possibility of being primaried at his instruction. I live in blue-state Massachusetts which regularly elects Republicans to its governorship. Sometimes people just get fed up with the same-old, same-old people and look for something new.