Andrew Cuomo and the Estranged Left

cuomo2Andrew Cuomo, today being re-elected Governor of New York, is admired, feared, respected, hated. In his recent book, All Things Possible, Cuomo writes:

At the end of your career, the only thing that matters is the lasting effect of your actions. Otherwise, what’s the point? You have to be willing to incur opposition if you actually want to get something meaningful done. All the difficult issues are controversial, by definition. But that’s the point of public service and what separates the statesmen from the journeymen in my opinion.

There is no reason to believe this is just idle rhetoric from a future presidential candidate. Coming in the context of eulogizing the political career of a Westchester County executive who helped him early in his career, this statement both reflects and attempts to justify Cuomo’s well-known ruthlessness. And hey, what’s wrong with being ruthless when it’s the only way to get the job done (especially in Albany)? “Be realistic—you can’t please everyone on your way to getting shit done.” That seems to be the motif of All Things Possible and the motto that drives Cuomo’s career. Keep reading →

Wanted: Fresh Ideas

Even after Newtown, the pro-reform Left runs out of gas on guns.

MAIGpresserOn June 24 I had the pleasure of attending a public discussion on guns featuring Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut. John Feinblatt, senior advisor to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the man behind the curtain at Mayors Against Illegal Guns, was his sidekick. Though both men demonstrated their copious passion and knowledge of the issues and hurdles facing gun reform, their words inspired a disappointingly hollow confidence—a sense of fighting the good fight without an appraisal of the likelihood of progress. Keep reading →

Leaving a Gaping Hole

The loss of Frank Lautenberg is bad for the Senate, national politics, and the people of New Jersey.

FRLThis isn’t an obituary summarizing his politics or life story, as sufficient pieces in the New York Times or National Journal have taken care of that. However, some reflection is necessary on the day that the U.S. Senate has lost one of its most progressive and genuine members.  Keep reading →

A Blazing Twilight

Teddy_Roosevelt_portraitColonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris; Random House, 2010; 784 pp.

Rare is the subject whose life becomes more interesting after two terms as President of the United States. Theodore Roosevelt, however, was an exceptional man indeed. Preferring to carry the honorific that recalled his charge up San Juan Hill in 1898, he enjoyed incarnations as a hunter and explorer, lecturer, campaigner, progressive reformer, and founder of America’s last significant third political party, all while maintaining his profession as a prolific man of letters.

Colonel Roosevelt, the third of Edmund Morris’ exhaustive and outstanding trilogy (the Pulitzer-winningThe Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex were published in 1979 and 2001, respectively), details the final decade of Roosevelt’s life. It is the apt culmination of a staggering amount of research, compiled and spun into wonderful prose that keeps its reader engaged throughout. Keep reading →