Cuomo: There’s A ‘Schism’ Among Republicans
Gov. Andrew Cuomo tossed out some uncharacteristic red meat for Democrats in a radio interview Friday morning as he gears up for re-election, saying there is an ideological “schism” in the Republican Party.
Cuomo, who on Thursday courted wealthy Republican donors in New York City, told WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom that Republicans in New York are struggling between conservative and moderate elements.
“Is the Republican Party in this state a moderate party or is it an extreme conservative party?” Cuomo said, adding the debate on the state level within the party mirrors the struggle in Washington, D.C. “That’s what’s going to play out this year: Who are the extreme conservatives?”
(Some may argue there is indeed a schism in the Democratic Party as well, both nationally and here in New York, between the wing of the party that is more centrist, which Cuomo clearly comes from, and the more liberal, personified by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, with whom the governor has differed. At the same time, there are two separate conferences of Democrats in the state Senate, which is a literal schism.)
For instance, Cuomo noted the controversial gun control law known as the SAFE Act was approved by “moderate Republicans in the Senate” while referencing Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino “running against” the law.
“Moderate Republicans have a place in this state,” Cuomo said, “but that’s not what you’re hearing from them on the far right.”
He added that issues like gun control and abortion rights have support from “70 percent of people in the state.”
Astorino this week told Time Warner Cable News the gun-control measure approved a year ago has been a “disaster” and criticized Cuomo for pushing it through the Legislature.
Still, despite the broadsides launched at conservatives, the riff from Cuomo was very much a call for moderation.
Cuomo gave a centrist, non-confrontational State of the State address this month that called for more than $2 billion in tax cuts and new economic development programs.
He once again called for the passage of his 10-point women’s agenda, which includes a provision aimed at codifying Roe v. Wade.
But the gist the address was squarely aimed at the middle of the state’s electorate as he runs for a second term.
Cuomo in the interview noted that moderate Republicans have governed the state in the past, referencing Gov. George Pataki, the man who defeated his father for a fourth term in 1994 and is the last member of the GOP to be elected statewide in New York.
“Moderate Republicans have a place in this state… but not what you’re hearing from them on the far right,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo at the same time defended his fundraising efforts that have led to him raising $35 million, with $7 million coming in to his coffers in the last six months of 2013.
“We have to live in the real world,” Cuomo said. “If you don’t have personal wealth… somebody can come in with personal wealth and just win the office. You see that all the time.”
He insisted the money, which has been raised from wealthy contributors and large-dollar donations, doesn’t have an impact on his policy. He called such questions “baloney.”
“At the end of the day, you have your integrity, you have your reputation, you have your accomplishments,” he said, adding, “I don’t care if someone gave me a ton of money or gave me no money. It makes no difference.”
Nevertheless, the money raised by all candidates can be an appearance problem, he acknowledged, and reiterated support for overhauling campaign finance laws.
“I’ll vouch for my own behavior, but not for everyone,” Cuomo said. “If we’re electing people who can be corrupted at any money, we’re electing the wrong people.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on January 17, 2014 at 11:40 am, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|