Maureen Dowd

Maureen Dowd

State, national columnists

‘The Sheriff’ thrives in New York

By From page A11 | January 20, 2013

When he was a young henchman for his father in Albany, Andrew Cuomo gave intensity a bad name.

Now that he is New York’s governor himself, Cuomo gives intensity a good name.

In the old days, that dark zeal was scattered around, directed at anyone who insulted or crossed him. Now he channels it more narrowly on the handful of things he wants to get done that he thinks the public wants.

“I was 23 years old then; now I’m 55 years old,” he says with an air of the Stephen Sondheim classic “I’m Still Here.” ”I was a linear, focused person. Then I got knocked on my rear end. I went through professional and personal hell. So now I keep it very simple. One day at a time. I’m killing myself to do the best job I can as governor. I do what I’m supposed to do and forget about the unhealthy things that used to distract me. I put one foot in front of the other. We take on big problems. And to say there’s no solution to the problems is not an option.”

Following the grotesque murders of children in Newtown, Conn., and firefighters in Webster, N.Y., the governor bellowed “Stop the madness” and shoved through tough gun-control legislation so blindingly fast that some state senators had scarcely read the bill, and the NRA conceded that it had no time to thwart it.

Cuomo, who worked the phones every day for a month, straight through the holidays, to drum up support, dismisses criticism of rushing and secrecy: “Everyone said, ‘You did it so quickly.’ That perspective is skewed. We’re years and years late. The federal assault weapons ban had lapsed. The state assault weapons ban was on the books, but everybody knew it wasn’t working. Government just failed to perform, and people died. So it’s all bittersweet because I have to say to myself, maybe if we had done earlier what we were supposed to do, figured out how to overcome the politics of extremes, we could have saved all those lives.

“We should have done it as a prophylactic, but maybe it’s human nature to tend to respond to an emergency. You have to sniffle before you get a flu shot.”

You could say it’s not so hard to pass such a bill in a left-leaning state with a popular governor (he is floating at a 71 percent favorability rating), and that it’s a far easier achievement than the gay marriage bill.

But with the president privately signaling some pessimism on new gun laws, as his domestic policy aides take a slower, less stringent approach, it’s bracing to see somebody, anybody, actually make government hum.

Cuomo doesn’t spend much time on TV baring his soul or hustling to get name recognition. (He doesn’t need to.) He focuses-focuses-focuses on the matter at hand, and on proving that government can work – if you apply the proper intensity at times of intense awareness.

“You have to try to hit a home run,” he said. “Home run hitters also have notoriously high strikeout rates. But it’s like when we tried to pass marriage equality. You have to be willing to fail.”

On BuzzFeed, Blake Zeff said “the latest unachievable triumph” shows that Cuomo has “a seemingly superhuman mastery of legislative politics.” And The Daily News christened Cuomo “America’s Sheriff.”

“I’m psyched,” Sheriff Andy said in a call from Albany, not Mayberry, joking, “But I never really saw myself in a big cowboy hat.”

And there is always suspicion swirling: What is Andrew up to? He is always up to something, but is he really deserving of the ever-present assumption that self-advancement trumps his true beliefs? On gun control, was he driven to beat the White House to the punch – or perhaps to beat a fellow governor and 2016 prospect, Martin O’Malley of Maryland? Was he pandering to the left to make up for centrist moves?

“Even when we’re building a bridge,” the governor noted dryly, “opponents say, ‘You’re only building a bridge to run for president.’ People are cynical about politicians. I’m the son of a politician, and I grew up in the political world, so people think I must be that – on steroids.”

The NRA and Greg Ball, a Republican state senator, denounced the New York law as a product of the governor’s 2016 ambition, although it could hurt Candidate Cuomo in places like Nevada, Colorado and Florida.

The governor doesn’t have the president’s public magnetism. But Cuomo, who devotes a lot of time to wining, dining and wheedling legislators, is far more deft at carrots, sticks and baby-talk than President Barack Obama is. It’s a fascinating – and open – question about whether those skills could work the same way to jolt comatose Washington.

“It’s more nuanced than carrots and sticks,” the governor explained. “People are complex. It’s about the full panorama of relationships, the positive and negative. There’s love, fear, desire to please, fear of reprisal. It’s not a fist. I would much rather be home watching a ballgame. But it takes time. It takes effort. It’s the job.”

Maureen Dowd is a columnist for The New York Times.

Maureen Dowd


Discussion | 6 comments

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  • Quoted from a BlogJanuary 20, 2013 - 10:30 am

    I would give Andrew Cuomo an F, as Governor of New York, the infrastructure and roads are crumbling, he spends more time in the Hamptons than in Albany, and he is out of control in his wasteful spending, meanwhile, 23 million Americans are unemployed and have less than the illegal immigrants who live in New York on Welfare!............ Andrew Cuomo is the illuminati's worse nightmare (in that they are using these people to Destroy America), and so is Barack Obama, these two politicians are in agreement with each other, hey New Yorkers and red neck America let's keep the poor, "Poor", and put the rest of the money in our nonprofits politician pockets, and we'll continue crushing the economy more and more everyday, until the taxpayers are completely homeless and jobless, that's what these Democrats have achieved in the last 4 years for the people in New York State and the struggling American people. These two men are lobbyist, they both became extremely rich in a short time............. America is jobless, homeless, bare ass, bare foot, and pregnant. The only change these politicians gave us in the last four years, is all nickels and dimes, they are nickel and dimming us, American people, we have nothing left. .............. I give Andrew Cuomo an F for failure. I give Barack Obama an F for Failure............. I'm gonna predict that these two politicians are out, they're out! I know the illuminati sign is three (I think it is two) fingers, but, the America people are only holding up one finger to this United States Government!......... Also would like to add: This is the problem with the New York Media, the politicians own them. How can the citizens trust the news media to inform them about the truth inside political and public corruption issues. There is no trust in a government, when politicians like Andrew Cuomo are buying a news media's confidence with offering high salaries and making news reporters like, News 12 Westchester Anchor Brian ConyBeare, and NBC Spokeswomen Allison Gollust, high salaries with the taxpayer dollars. The important question is this, what's the point to hire these high paid news reporters into his administration? There is a method of madness in this type of unethical practice in government............... The Westchester County District Attorney Janet Difiore, hired another News 12 Westchester reporter Tracy Everson, Deputy Communications Director, Westchester District Attorney's Office, paying her a high salary on the backs of the taxpayers. .............. Westchester County residents pay the highest taxes in the United States, and if politicians cannot speak to the press openly and honestly about the issues, than, they should not be in public office. They should stop wasting the taxpayers hard earned cash on covering up the truth, it's time these greedy politicians face the public and answer the questions for themselves................. The question is this, are these job titles and high salaries necessary in New York, when the infrastructure and roads are crumbling and 23 million people are living on unemployment? This is wasteful spending of tax dollars.

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  • These SHOOTINGS ARE PSYOPSJanuary 20, 2013 - 10:47 am

    Deadly PSYOPS perpetrat4ed against the American people by Black cover ops within our own Government, but they are getting more and more brazen.....why because the MEDIA is in on it, both parties at the top Dem and Repub are in on it. Why because the American people are DUMBED DOWN, have Normalcy Bias, it is so over the top that people can not believe it is really happening.... for example 911 WAS AN INSIDE JOB....PNAC Republicans, certain elements of the Israeli Mossad and some Saudi Operatives, BUT WITH THE FULL KNOWLEDGE OF SUCH TOP DEMS AS THE CLINTONS, FEINSTEIN AND PELOSI (they did end up funding the war efforts)For example someone show me where is the plane that supposedly took out the Pentagon, there is no plane wreckage. What about building 7 at the World Trade Center?...

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  • Psychological Operations (United States)January 20, 2013 - 11:04 am

    From Wikepedia---- (PN=Posters Note) Psychological operations are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[1][PN- Now dark elements our our own US government, (but really illuminati/New World Order/Luciferian/Global Industrialist/International Banker government, they own US now and most of the world also) are using their Psycho tactics against the American People...Google False Flag Operations]........... The purpose of United States psychological operations (PSYOP) is to induce or reinforce behavior favorable to US objectives (PN - No New World Order objectives). They are an important part of the range of diplomatic, informational, military, and economic activities available to the US. They can be utilized during both peacetime and conflict. There are three main types: strategic, operational, and tactical. Strategic PSYOP include informational activities conducted by the US government agencies outside of the military arena, though many utilize Department of Defense (DOD) assets. Operational PSYOP are conducted across the range of military operations, including during peacetime, in a defined operational area to promote the effectiveness of the joint force commander's (JFC) campaigns and strategies. Tactical PSYOP are conducted in the area assigned to a tactical commander across the range of military operations to support the tactical mission against opposing forces. (PN - HMMMMMMMM.....Tactical ops meaning people actually die, did anybody die on 911?)................. PSYOP can encourage popular discontent with the opposition's leadership (PN - or as an excuse to get the American Public to go along with fighting wars or for attacking the Second Amendment) by combining persuasion with a credible threat, degrade an adversary's ability to conduct or sustain military operations. They can also disrupt, confuse, and protract the adversary's decision-making process, undermining command and control.[2]

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  • IMPORTANTJanuary 20, 2013 - 11:11 am


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  • LyricsJanuary 20, 2013 - 11:43 am

    Good times and bum times, I've seen them all And, my dear, I'm still here Plush velvet sometimes Sometimes just pretzels and beer, but I'm here.......... I've stuffed the dailies in my shoes Strummed ukuleles, sung the blues Seen all my dreams disappear but I'm here. I've slept in shanties, guest of the W.P.A., but I'm here Danced in my scanties Three bucks a night was the pay, but I'm here......... I've stood on bread lines with the best Watched while the headlines did the rest In the depression was I depressed? Nowhere near, I met a big financier and I'm here........ I've been through Gandhi, Windsor and Wally's affair, and I'm here Amos 'n' Andy, Mah-jongg and platinum hair, and I'm here I got through Abie's, Irish Rose, Five Dionne babies, Major Bowes Had heebie-jeebies for Beebe's, Bathysphere I got through Shirley Temple, and I'm here......... I've gotten through Herbert and J. Edgar Hoover Gee, that was fun and a half When you've been through Herbert and J. Edgar Hoover Anything else is a laugh ........... I've been through Reno, I've been through Beverly Hills, and I'm here. Reefers and vino, rest cures, religion and pills, and I'm here Been called a 'Pinko', commie tool, got through it stinko by my pool I should've gone to an acting school, that seems clear Still someone said, "She's sincere", so I'm here............... Black sable one day, next day it goes into hock, but I'm here Top billing Monday, Tuesday, you're touring in stock, but I'm here First you're another sloe-eyed vamp Then someone's mother, then you're camp Then you career from career to career I'm almost through my memoirs, and I'm here............ I've gotten through, "Hey, lady, aren't you whoozis? Wow, what a looker you were" Or better yet, "Sorry, I thought you were whoozis Whatever happened to her?"............ Good times and bum times, I've seen 'em all And, my dear, I'm still here Flush velvet sometimes Sometimes just pretzels and beer, but I'm here ................. I've run the gamut, A to Z Three cheers and dammit, C'est la vie I got through all of last year, and I'm here Lord knows, at least I was there, and I'm here Look who's here, I'm still here...........

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  • Dig the Dresses MaureenJanuary 20, 2013 - 11:57 am


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