The Contender

A WVOX and WVIP Commentary
by William O’Shaughnessy
March 26, 2015

The brilliant Vanity Fair contributor Michael Shnayerson has written a much heralded book The Contender about Andrew Cuomo which comes out next week.

Everyone awaits Mr. Snayerson’s findings re:  the Governor.  Meanwhile, here are some lovely recent descriptions of New York State’s chief executive compliments of the local media:

Andrew Mark Cuomo is tough, blunt, obsessive, intense, driven, ambitious, dour, controlled, controlling, impatient, abrupt, cantankerous, inscrutable, difficult, brittle, sensitive, formidable, aggressive, self-confident, pragmatic, competitive, tense, distant, acerbic, fixated, reclusive, private, combative, workmanlike, prodigious, relentless, goal-oriented, tactically astute, strategically brilliant, mechanical, adept at stagecraft, sharp-elbowed, parochial, not cosmic, centrist, business-like, strong, does whatever it takes, makes it happen, disdains rhetoric, prizes results, honest (per Mario himself) and straight as they come (also per Mario), bright, powerful, effective, taut, dynamic, suspicious, guarded and shrewd.

As you may have noticed, Andrew Cuomo has been called All of The Above by our colleagues in the public press.

But to all of these descriptions and appellations must fairly be added:  brave and courageous (as witness his fracking ban … tough gun control laws … same sex marriage … reining in the teachers unions … property tax freeze … estate tax reduction).

And one thing more.  He is a son of Mario Cuomo.  And in his best moments, Andrew resembles Mario Cuomo and can inspire, motivate  and encourage … as he did so memorably,  gracefully and beautifully at his late father’s funeral             Mass in New York City.

No one knows the levers of government like Andrew. He’s a brilliant tactician.  And he’s had to be a tough guy to clean up the detritus left over from the Spitzer-Paterson era. 

But now … now he’s got to start to “reveal” more of himself as he did praying over his father in that Jesuit Church on Park Avenue on January 6th, 2015.

He’s come this far by being a no-nonsense, eminently practical, Clintonesque, mechanic.

But if he’s going to go beyond the sturm und drang and minutiae of governance here in New York State … he’s got to once more be Mario Cuomo’s son and heir.  He has that ability.

And like his father of sainted memory … Andrew can inspire.

He hears the music.  He’s got the stature, the cadence, the rhythm, the passion, the genes … if he will but give more of himself.

Andrew is great at the prose.

Now it’s time for some poetry.

And music …

He could yet be a president.  And a great one.



William O’Shaughnessy