Andrew Cuomo: A Tale of Two Pamphlets

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Photo: Doug Kanter/AFP/Getty Images

The Times' one-billion-word weekend profile about Andrew Cuomo's growth as a politician can be boiled down to the difference between two publications he produced throughout his 30-odd-year career as a politician. The first:

If Mario Cuomo’s Achilles’ heel had always been his ambivalent relationship with his ambition, Andrew Cuomo’s was his unambivalent relationship with his. At HUD, he cranked out press releases at a furious pace and traveled so frequently that one Republican senator, Kit Bond, kept track of his itinerary. Shortly before leaving office in 2000, Cuomo ordered the printing of 30,000 copies of a 150-page, glossy brochure reviewing his accomplishments at HUD; it cost $688,000 and was titled “Vision for Change.” Add to this the lingering impression that Cuomo was either directly or indirectly behind much of the unflattering tabloid coverage of his soon-to-be-ex-wife’s affair with a polo-playing restaurateur, and it seemed as if the most-sensible approach would be for him to just put his head down and do his job.

That pamphlet included pictures of him with celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, by the way.

His new publication is called "The New NY Agenda: A Plan for Action," and it rings in at a very serious 250 pages:

“The New NY Agenda” took shape over the course of the spring, with Cuomo and a group of his senior staff members from the attorney general’s office meeting every Saturday to brainstorm and debate various points of policy. The book offers both a diagnosis of the state’s myriad problems — from the endemic corruption in the Legislature to the soaring cost of funding the pensions of state employees — and a list of proposed solutions (some specific, others notably less so) ... This has all been distilled into Cuomo’s five-point, single-page pledge: clean up Albany; get the state’s “fiscal house in order”; “rightsize” its government; and restart its stalled-out economy. (The fifth point is a catch-all commitment to progressive issues like marriage equality.) Cuomo’s campaign workers are taking the pledge door to door across the state, asking voters to commit to urging their legislators to support his agenda.

This is intended to signify some serious growth from showboating to unpretentious, grassroots hard work and big ideas. The other point of this article, as highlighted more explicitly in Steve Fishman's recent article in New York, is that Cuomo enjoys a somewhat bitchy/loving complicated relationship with his father, Mario, the former three-term governor. When asked about Andrew's latest magnum opus, Papa Cuomo wasn't that impressed, referring offhandedly to the book-length manifesto as Andrew's "little pamphlet."

The Making of Andrew Cuomo [NYT]
Related: The Cuomo Family Business [NYM]