A focal point today like most days during the last 50 has been Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 briefing. I’m not alone watching, joined by family in this pod and millions of viewers and listeners around the nation and world. In the background there’s noise, some emanating from a basement in Wilmington, Delaware. I vaguely hear what Joe Biden woulda done, will do next year and right now is doing – appointing a committee to help him select a woman as running mate and letting one of the contenders conduct her own national campaign to pressure him.
In a long life I’ve tussled some with Andrew Cuomo and Joe Biden. In 2006 I declined Andrew’s offer to head his transition to New York’s attorney general. Something I’d done for two previous new AGs. And on one fine Sunday in 2012, by then Governor Cuomo held an “all hands on deck” session on Albany’s “second floor” to formulate a press attack on me in response to my latest Op-Ed, among several in Hearst’s Albany Times Union – criticizing him and his administration.
With Biden, the jousting was just the sort that occurs when a frequent witness before the Senate Judiciary Committee, that Biden chaired, disagreed with him – as I did a number of times – but most conspicuously during the confirmation hearings for Justice Stephen Breyer.
I like Joe Biden and dislike Andrew Cuomo, but really “pretty please with cherry on top” want Andrew to be my party’s nominee this fall. For two huge, closely related reasons, including the one best stated by Biden as he launched his otherwise inept campaign in 2019:
“if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation. . .”
The other big reason is Andrew’s response to the pandemic, whose epicenter is close to my home and “ground zero.” Andrew’s performance has been stellar and daily increases in skill, sophistication and the ability to communicate with and calm the public. It has seemed like a Disney time-lapse movie of the spring crop blossoming.
These dynamic images of Biden and Cuomo respectively, have become worse and better every day. And these days we have plenty of time to see, hear and analyze what leaders say and what they do.
Precisely what is Joe Biden conveying by his appointment of Chris Dodd, Lisa Rochester, Eric Garcetti and Cynthia Hogan to vet potential running mates? Indecisiveness and his need for a committee to make a decision that quintessentially is intimate, subjective and personal. Three very experienced opponents effectively hammered and outperformed him at the debates. Senators Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren are each ready to serve as Number Two and well qualified to be Number One if necessary – as many Americans fear is likely during a Biden first term, to say nothing of an unlikely second term.
Biden’s lack of command and decisiveness contrasts with Cuomo who has coordinated with but in truth led many of the nation’s governors and forced Trump to back off and down. Andrew has even reopened Mike Bloomberg’s wallet that abruptly closed after his campaign ended. And with Andrew’s enlistment of Bloomberg’s considerable skill and vast financial resources comes the former mayor’s functionally-owned subsidiary, Johns Hopkins University, and its Bloomberg School of Hygiene and Public Health. It will spearhead development of qualitatively and quantitatively sufficient COVID-19 testing and tracing, that other than a vaccine and a cure are the most important elements for enabling the reopening of this nation. A national task being done by New York’s governor and New York City’s ex-mayor.
We can’t afford to lose this November nor having succeeded in the election, entrust a badly damaged country to a POTUS not at the top of his game. Joe is not, but Andrew clearly is and gaining strength daily.