By Dr. Lee M. Miringoff
So, the press (and pollsters, too) are probably pleased that at least the Paladino vs. Cuomo matchup for governor will provide some interesting byplay. How quickly we all forget the good times when Rick Lazio marched across the stage to confront Hillary Clinton in 2000. If the 2010 campaign nationally is about anything new and dynamic, then how about a classic outsider-insider contest with a Tea Party flavor right here in New York?
But, not so fast. Carl Paladino’s come from behind thrashing of Rick Lazio may have been just as much about dissension within the GOP then a tidal wave of discontent rushing down the Erie Canal to Albany. If you left the GOP convention in NYC in June with the blessings of the party organization, whether for Governor or the two contests for U.S. Senate, then you headed home last night a loser. Now, Paladino no doubt gets a bounce from his primary victory, is well-funded for the general election contest, and brings his baseball bat as a genuine outsider looking to hit for the cycle.
But, Paladino is largely a political unknown statewide as far as the general electorate is concerned. And, if you know anything about Andrew Cuomo, expect a concerted effort to portray Paladino as outside the range of acceptability for mainstream New York voters. Cuomo is the most popular elected official in New York State and enjoys the 2:1 advantage Democrats have over Republicans. Right now, this has to be viewed as enough to stave off Paladino.
Don’t expect a 40 point win for the son of the greatest governor in the greatest state in the only world we know. But, look for team Cuomo to revise then unknown candidate Mario Cuomo’s 1982 campaign slogan to something that defines Paladino. Perhaps, “The better you know him the better you know he’s ‘too right’ for governor.” And, that process of political definition begins today, on Day 1 of Paladino vs. Cuomo.