Can Jerry Brown and Andrew Cuomo govern?
Most of America turned red last night, but I was struck by the continuing blueness of two of the nation's largest states: California and New York. Voters there chose the old-time Democratic religion, in the form of governors-elect Jerry Brown and Andrew Cuomo. Not only is Brown a former governor from the 70s, he is the son of a former Democratic governor from the 50s! Of course, Cuomo's dad was guv once upon a time, too. Admittedly, only Brown faced serious opposition. But the margin of Cuomo's victory on an night when other Dems running statewide won more narrowly was impressive.
I can't quite understand why either man would want the job he has just won. California and New York are not only among the largest states, they are arguably the two most dysfunctional, with massive fiscal problems and chronically unruly legislatures. There is a real question as to whether either one is governable at all anymore.
And it gets worse: Both states are already pretty much taxed to the max, so neither governor-elect really has the option of restoring solvency through higher levies. I rather doubt that House Speaker John Boehner and his minions would smile on a request for federal relief. Thus, any solution must involve taking on the public sector unions whose pensions and health benefits account for much of the two states' structural financial problems. Yet it so happens that these unions are the pillars of the California and New York Democratic political parties, without whose support neither man would be where he is today.
Therefore, Cuomo and Brown can only succeed by biting the hand that has fed them so generously. They have run on promises to make the necessary reforms through cooperation, rather than the confrontation that Republicans such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chris Christie have favored. In a country newly but probably lastingly concerned with the cost and size of government, the ability of Brown and Cuomo to make good on their pledges could influence not only their political futures, but the future of the Democratic Party nationally. It's a last chance to prove that the high-tax, high-service, high public-sector pension "blue" model of state governance can be sustained -- and these two men will have to make the most of it.
Posted by: blert | November 3, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: edantes | November 3, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: simonsays1 | November 3, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | November 3, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: g30rg3544 | November 3, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: OldUncleTom | November 3, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: vinyl1 | November 3, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Robo14 | November 3, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: leoncautillo | November 3, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 4, 2010 5:10 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: thurstoniii58 | November 4, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: pilsener | November 4, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: naross | November 4, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse