With the primary season now behind us and a pre-commencement of political head bashing just getting warmed up, we now prepare for the next big thing in the election cycle, the conventions. With the state of grid lock growing even more locked in place with every passing day it’s hard to imagine how the fall election will change the negative attitudes coming out of Washington.
As the partisan lines begin to stockpile their ammo and the talking heads try out their spin maneuvers to twist every detail to conform to their party position, I would like to draw your comparisons between two leaders to help us reach some conclusions. I think it only fair to compare the job performance in New York State of Governor Andrew Cuomo and that of President Barack Obama. Granted Governor Cuomo has only been in office half the amount of time as President Obama, but the outcomes seem a stark contrast.
Let’s start at the beginning. President Obama said at his inauguration, “That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many -- and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet. Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.”
Governor Cuomo made three promises in his initial address to the public. “1. We need to clean up Albany and restore integrity. 2. We need to get the economy running and create jobs. 3. We need to stop government overspending and overtaxing.” He went on to say, “The real power of the Governor lies with the people of the state. Democracy only works when the voice of the people rings strong and rings true. I need you to help me. The State is at a crossroads. I believe the decisions we make, the decisions my colleagues make, this year will define the trajectory of this state for years to come. The decisions we make today will shape the state we leave our children tomorrow. ”
Both Democratic leaders faced very similar problems, during very difficult times. Each of us must come to our own conclusions on their results from their performance and the promises they made good on. As citizens we should expect those candidates we place into office to do what they promise to do. Both men have spoken very clearly about their intentions and both have a record from which to be judged. Both made it clear that the job was immense, but both told us they were up to the task. President Obama went on the NBC Today Show shortly after he took office and said "If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition."
Over the past 18 months, in my opinion Governor Cuomo has lived up to his promise to revitalize the state’s economy to create jobs and restore New York’s reputation as a world-class place to do business. He did so by thoroughly redesigning the state’s economic development strategies, presenting and passing a budget on time and adopting an entrepreneurial model of government. He made it clear that the state and the private sector must work collaboratively toward a shared goal and most importantly he led the way without placing blame or making excuses. Everything hasn’t gone his way but he’s removed the ranker in Albany and they are working together and making things happen. It’s called leadership.
Mr. Obama, I think you need to realize, you have not met your own vision of accomplishment and you would be wise to follow your own instincts by making this a one term proposition exactly as you stated, by allowing someone like Governor Cuomo or Secretary Clinton to step forward and carry your party’s torch in this election. Who is best served by another Obama term, Mr. Obama or the country? Three and half years has been enough time for me to see we can not afford four more years.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org