By Alan S. Shartock
Meanwhile, something else is going on. An interesting group of people is encouraging the immensely popular Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president, despite her having said she’s done with politics. There is her successor as United States senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, for example. I know Gillibrand, and I can tell you that she is one tough cookie. She is a hell of a smart woman who knows how to play the cards, and I have never seen her make a political error. When she recently said she would be a charter member of the Draft Hillary for President Club, I think
we can assume she knew exactly what she was doing. She also had to know that when Cuomo heard what she’d said, he would not be a happy camper. Gillibrand must have assessed the risk and figured it was worth it. To know Cuomo is to know that all other politicians are seen as rivals and, in many cases, as the enemy. I suspect he learned that from his pop. Politics is a tough game, and only one person gets to be president. Cuomo is immensely popular in the polls. Nonetheless, the jury is still out as to whether the voters like him personally as much as they like what he has done in New York.
While Gov. Cuomo may be popular with the people, I think it is fair to say that the political insiders aren’t exactly crazy about him. Maybe that’s why Gillibrand was recently joined by fellow Democrat Sheldon Silver, the sharpest, smartest and sliest politician in politics, when he issued what appeared to be a forceful endorsement of Hillary for president. When pressed, Silver said Cuomo was good as well. We know that the Senate Democrats, who are in the minority, don’t like Cuomo. They will probably stay in the minority because of Cuomo’s support for
the Republicans in the state Senate. While Cuomo’s credentials are arguable, those Democrats in the state Senate are old-style tax-the-rich Democrats.
A third person with encouraging words for a Hillary candidacy is none other than Bill Clinton, who says he hopes that she will change her mind and run. Now I ask you, Would he do that without his wife’s tacit support? We know that Hillary says she will not do a second term as secretary of State and she has said she won’t campaign for President Obama. That sounds like she wants to clear the boards to run. If the state and national polls are telling us anything, it is that Hillary would mop the floor with Cuomo in a head-to-head confrontation. Of course, it’s still very early, and we do not know why Hillary has said that she wouldn’t run. But the tea leaves are all suggesting that a Clinton candidacy is what the people and the political community want. Hey, it’s a good thing that Cuomo and his people don’t read my column.
Alan S. Chartock is president and CEO of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio and an executive publisher at The Legislative Gazette.
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