From blizzards to Occupy Wall Street, Cathie Black to Carl Kruger, 2011 has had its ups and downs, lefts and rights, and even some unexpected U-turns (tweeting Anthony Weiner). It was a year of overhyped political races and secret backroom deals, spectacular ethical lapses and game-changing protests. As we look forward to 2012, we look back on the bold, savvy and dumb-lucky who won most mornings of the year. And as for the Losers, well, you know what you did.—
Andrew Cuomo – A property tax cap, an on-time budget, legalized same-sex marriage, a millionaires-tax-disguised-as-a-middle-class-tax-cut, Medicaid overhaul, a taxi deal, MTA payroll tax repeal, ethics reform, regional economic development councils … an impressive first act from a master of political manipulation. Cuomo schooled us all in Albany 101, and left many feeling amazed that the state’s capital could be so quickly brought back from the brink. The potential pitfalls in 2012 are many, but Cuomo seems eager to get back to, as he likes to say, doing the people’s business. So pour a cocktail with Sandra Lee and enjoy the fireworks.
Dean Skelos – Unlike the Democrats, the Senate majority leader’s conference is all about discipline. He lost not one member to sex scandal, resignation (Vincent Liebel was already out when he got indicted), illness or injury. The cohesion of the 32-member group was the leverage Skelos used to broker mutual satisfaction for his members and the Cuomo administration. At the end of the year, he and Cuomo were congratulating each other on their functional working relationship, having passed a property tax cap, tax reform, a partial repeal of the MTA payroll tax and the state’s first on-time budget since before YouTube was invented. Twas not so long ago the pundits questioned his leadership ability, but it seems clear that Mean Dean knows how to play well with others.
Anthony Weiner – The harder they come, the harder they fall. Nobody talked louder and crashed more spectacularly than Anthony Weiner. His initial Twitter fail quickly turned into a parade of perversion and groan-inducing late night comedy fodder. And his resignation gave Republicans an unexpected foothold in blue New York City. But the hits keep coming: a new baby and the need to earn his keep may thrust (ugh) Weiner back into the spotlight sooner than New Yorkers are willing to accept.
John Sampson – Carl Kruger goes down for a bribery scandal. Shirley Huntley’s aide gets indicted for stealing taxpayer money. Kevin Parker releases a fundraising invitation seeming to declare his office for sale. Four members of the Senate Democratic conference bolt to form their own group, citing the poor leadership of the man in charge. Efforts to push redistricting reform failed and Cuomo keeps cutting deals that will help the Senate Republicans. John Sampson’s pick for the new state ethics panel is widely panned. And the freewheeling spending on staff and campaign consultants while the Democrats were in the majority will only make a comeback even more daunting.
For the complete list of 2011 winners and losers, head to City & State…