In about thirteen hours, when the clock strikes midnight and 2011 begins, New Yorkers will have a Governor Cuomo for the first time in sixteen years and for the second time in history. He has a tough job ahead of him: a dysfunctional and corrupt state government, huge budget shortfalls, a dreadful economy, and a cynical general public.
It will be interesting to see how he operates and if, ultimately, he is successful.
Obviously he will be compared to his father but, in many ways, they are very different. Unlike his loquacious father Mario -- renowned for his great speeches and who always came across strongly on television -- Andrew Cuomo gives very few speeches and interviews. In this Twitter/Facebook/blog/24-hour news cycle era, he keeps a generally low profile and limits his media exposure. This has created a sense of mystique and mystery about him and, in many ways, made him more powerful: it allows him to think in private so that, when he acts in public, he cannot be effectively countermanded by his opponents. He likes to use the telephone to probe and cajole his associates -- a very old-school, LBJ-like modus operandi -- that is much more effective in getting people to do what he wants done (emails just don't have the same power).
And unlike Mario -- who lovely wife Matilda was an amazing First Lady of this state -- Andrew is single with a girlfriend, Sandra Lee, who has her own career as a TV cooking celebrity. Apparently she won't be a traditional First Lady -- she'll do her own thing and Andrew will do his. T
heirs is a very New York relationship.
So in many ways our new Governor is more old-school than his dad but also much more modern. Let's cross our fingers for him, hope he succeeds, and that he will lead our state to better days ahead.