Unlike Governor Chris Christie, NY’s Governor Andrew Cuomo is a Democrat, but like Christie and President Obama he does not have smooth sailing in his legislature. The NY Senate is controlled by Republicans and the Assembly by Democrats. One day after Gov. Christie, Gov. Cuomo gave his State of the State address.
What a difference a governor, party and state can make. Christie’s address was a “feel good moment” for Christie, filled with self-congratulatory comments and tear-jerking stories about Sandy and the heroic efforts of responders. Let’s remember that NY also suffered mightily from Sandy so some of what Cuomo said was similar. The difference was that Cuomo had substantive initiatives to propose for Sandy reconstruction and for the broader needs of his state. Christie had no initiatives for Sandy nor his state, and he appeared clueless – a general commanding troops but with no plan, or an emperor with no clothing.
Not only did Cuomo have plans and ideas to propose to his legislature, he backed up his initiatives with a detailed 326-page document. Our governor had no initiatives, so there was no detailed document, but that did not stop him from appearing the next day on Imus in the Morning, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Morning Joe, and CBS This Morning. Also there were his youtube videos and press releases. In a nutshell Christie revealed himself as a cheerleader and Cuomo as a quarterback.
Cuomo provided a genuine State of the State message with numerous specific proposals for Sandy restoration, plus, economic development, preparing the workforce, education, raising the minimum wage, marijuana possession laws, strengthening eyewitness identification, revitalizing poor communities, safety and fair gun policy, cyber security, campaign finance reform, greenhouse gas emissions, and more.
Did you hear any of the above initiatives proposed by Christie, or any initiatives at all? Why not? Are Republicans devoid of ideas except for reducing the size of government, cutting spending and taxes, ignoring the poor and middle class and favoring the wealthy? Was Christie so confident in his re-election that he felt he did not need to make any proposals? Was his State of the State speech not even designed for us, but for a broader national audience, complete with sound bites for a presidential campaign?
Each governor will face opposition in his respective legislature but one came prepared while the other did not.