By Ravi Batra,
Ranju and I know Andrew Cuomo as a dear friend when he was New York State Attorney General and supported him fully. I saw in him qualities of a president Teddy Roosevelt – and said so – to reporter Liz Benjamin. He is “blue-blood” to power, which to paraphrase Mark Twain in “The Prince and the Pauper,” Andrew is a Prince who would never use the great seal of New York “to crack walnuts.” But, unfortunately, that which made him American royalty or political aristocracy, was also his Achilles’ heel: as in a nation of laws, under-pinned by our exceptional “separation of powers” regime, no one can control the government. Andrew, amazingly did.
Indeed, to avoid going to war with my friend, I quit the powerful New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) in September 2012, even as I was one of its founding commissioners warmly supported by my dear friend, the late great District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau Jr. I even sent him a letter, as both he and I are “blue-blooded” sons of great fathers. But, he was surrounded by a tight circle of “yes” men and women, benefitting and roasting warmly in his power.
His accumulation of extra-constitutional control permitted him to act – in public policy or private conduct – as if he was above the law. And just like a car without “brakes“ and only an “accelerator,” a crash is inevitable as it is unavoidable. Andrew’s crash has been happening over 10 years, like a fine Opera taking time to build to a crescendo: a tragic end of Andrew the Great.
I knew his Dad, Hon. Mario Cuomo, albeit, not as well as Andrew. Still, he was the happy personification of the American Dream, and an orator Mark Anthony would applaud. There is no joy in seeing my old friend Andrew self-destruct like Lazarus flying too close to the sun. In time, his private conduct will have met a full measure of justice, but history will always weep for what he would and could have wrought, as a sensible centrist Democrat worthy of being president of the United States and keeping us all safe from enemies foreign and domestic. I wish Andrew to heal, enjoy fatherhood fully, and find himself, outside of politics, as a Sphinx of a man.