Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Cuomo Dynasty

We Americans have a love-hate relationship with powerful families. We hate nepotism and disdain the idea of electing people to office just because they come from a famous family. At the same time, a powerful family is like a brand, a comforting pre-sold item that we feel safe buying over and over again -- and that's why political dynasties emerge.

The last few decades have seen the rise of several political dynasties. The Clintons, the Bushes and the Kennedys are currently the most famous dynasties in American politics. Then there are regional dynasties like the Tafts of Ohio or the Carnahans of Missouri.

Here in New York we haven't really had a major political dynasty since the Roosevelts. However, this year will probably cement the Cuomos as New York's newest political dynasty. Mario Cuomo, of course, was governor for twelve years from 1983-1995. Before that he was the New York Secretary of State and Lieutenant Governor, spending 20 years in high office in the state government. In 2006, his son Andrew was elected Attorney General and now is the odd-on favorite to become governor. That will mean Cuomo pere and fils will have racked up almost thirty years of service to this state and, if Andrew is a successful governor and serves as long as his dad, it will push forty.

So who are the Cuomos? What is this new dynasty all about? Some recent articles about this family sheds some light and you can read them here and here. You can also read about why it's easier for sons to continue family dynasties than women -- something that Caroline Kennedy can certainly attest to.

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