Democrats at long last won commanding control of the state Senate on Tuesday. So why are both Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio setting out such modest legislative agendas?
The gov wants to add to New Yorkers’ already extensive abortion rights, reduce college tuition for undocumented students, control guns a bit more and make it easier to sue the Catholic Church over past abuses.
He also vows to pass ethics reform and to close the “LLC loophole” that allows for huge campaign donations from real-estate interests and the like — which is convenient for him, because he’s likely never running another campaign in the state.
De Blasio says he wants tighter rent laws, more cash for the MTA and a long-term extension of mayoral control of the schools — a pathetic wish list, considering he says a Democratic Senate means “a whole new ballgame” in Albany.
Maybe the mayor’s afraid to publicly wish for more because he expects the gov to block anything he really wants. Or maybe it’s his obsession with burnishing his national progressive reputation: No one will give him much credit for anything that’s just handed to him by the state.
But what’s Cuomo’s excuse?
Perhaps he’s just out of ideas. He certainly offered no real third-term agenda during the campaign, and a progressive Senate doesn’t give him much more power to “fight Trump” than he already had.
Especially since the gov was always able to get pretty much anything he wanted from the Republican Senate: gay marriage, the gun-control SAFE Act, massive minimum-wage hikes …
Now he has to worry that he’s the “right-winger” in Albany — will he have to play the grownup, rejecting insane new spending demands to guard his much-cherished claim to be a fiscal conservative?
If Cuomo does wind up running for the White House in 2020, maybe he’ll embrace the drive for (hugely expensive) single-payer health care in New York — so long as it doesn’t actually take effect until 2021.
For now, we’ll breathe a sigh of relief that neither leader is talking big dreams yet. Just cross your fingers that they’re not plotting any surprises.