Governor Andrew Cuomo Turns Left

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s first two years in office were pretty easy. He was trying to come off as a moderate and worked with the Republicans who controlled the state Senate. Along with four rogue Democrats, the Republicans continue to control the Senate but Cuomo is making it clear that he isn’t going to be their BFF anymore because he needs to shore up the liberal base if he wants any hope of running for president in 2016.

In a series of radio appearances on Wednesday and in an op-ed published last week, Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, forcefully warned lawmakers not to oppose him on his top 2013 legislative priorities: an increase in the state’s minimum wage, a campaign finance overhaul and decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana.

His radio appearances came a day after the Senate’s top Republican, Dean Skelos, refused to say whether he supported raising the minimum wage.

“They are wrong,” Mr. Cuomo said on “Live from the State Capitol with Fred Dicker,” an Albany radio show. “If Senator Skelos is opposed to the agenda of the people of the state, then I will oppose him.”

Mr. Skelos of Long Island had been an ally of Mr. Cuomo’s during his first two years in office, when Republicans controlled the Senate, and they have rarely criticized each other. Mr. Cuomo’s tough talk reflects the new reality in Albany, where power in the Senate will be shared between Mr. Skelos’s Republicans and a breakaway group, the Independent Democratic Caucus, led by Sen. Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx.

Those Democrats said they are in favor of Mr. Cuomo’s agenda and would push to allow those items to come to the floor for a vote. By contrast, Mr. Skelos had blocked raising the minimum wage and decriminalizing marijuana this year. [...]

But Mr. Cuomo has had trouble getting traction with the Democratic Party’s left, even with signature achievements such as legalizing gay marriage and new taxes for the wealthy in 2011. As speculation mounts that Mr. Cuomo will run for president in 2016, Markos Moulitsas, an influential liberal blogger, has told his readers that Mr. Cuomo isn’t a liberal. On Twitter last week, Mr. Moulitsas wrote: “I look forward to crushing Cuomo if he runs for president in 2016.”

In a nod to liberals, Mr. Cuomo on New York State Public Radio called public financing of campaigns an “integral piece” of the legislative package he will announce at his Jan. 9 State of the State address. (Read More)

Are these libs kidding about campaign financing? Their Dearest Leader, President Obama, was quick to scrap public financing and continues fundraising even though his campaign is over. As for raising the minimum wage, all that will do is lead to higher unemployment in this state. It might make the base happy but it certainly won’t look good on his resume to everyone else.