David Paterson pushed for this, and did not get the support. Now, Democrats and Republicans who once opposed it, became “yes” votes. What was the difference of a couple of years? Some senators pointed to polling, saying their districts were indicating that there was not as much opposition as there was before. The real difference is that it is harder to say no to Cuomo than the less-influential Paterson. There is no question that people’s opinions have changed, but probably not that dramatically in just two short years.
Cuomo’s commitment to this, along with the protections for religious orders, is what pushed this legislation over the threshold. Cuomo now has some political capital because even those opposing same-sex marriage in New York would have to admit that the man has gotten something done that was only recently seemed impossible.
This is not to imply that the general public does not support marriage equality, it is clear that among younger people (especially among younger Catholics) this was becoming an issue of discrimination.
What does this mean for Cuomo? After Barack Obama, the Democratic Party does not have a bullpen. There are no strong candidates for 2016 waiting to run nationally. The GOP has a bevy of maybes for 2016, all of them sitting out in 2012 so they can have a clean shot at the White House in five years.
The Democratic Party, however, has one horse in its presidential stable, and that horse is proving himself effective in Albany. Andrew Cuomo may very well run for president in 2016, and with the support of his former boss Bill Clinton and his name recognition, he can win the early Democratic primaries, which tend to draw more idealistic voters. This vote to approve same-sex marriage, which brought over some influential GOP votes, tells us that this governor is thinking long term.
What Iowa Means in a Presidential Race…Not As Much As You Think
Ah, the talk of Iowa and New Hampshire. It means there is a race for the White House on the horizon. The Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary are important because if a candidate can win there, their ability to raise money is much better. In recent straw polls, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has gotten good traction and is now tied with Mitt Romney in polls that mean, well…not much.
In 1988, the Iowa Caucuses as a faithful predictor told us that Democratic Congressman Richard Gephardt would be facing off against Republican Senator Bob Dole . Neither got their party’s nomination. In 1992, Paul Tsongas won the Democratic Party’s New Hampshire Primary, only to eventually throw his support behind Governor Bill Clinton. In 1996, Pat Buchanan won the New Hampshire primary, only to lose the nomination.
So why are we so caught up in these early battle ground areas when they are not always a barometer of what is to come? It must be the money.
The media makes some of these candidacies, like that of Ron Paul, into more than they really are. Sure, Ron Paul shoots from the hip, because he can. You know why? He has no chance of winning.
Bachmann is more of a possibility, but when was the last time a member of the House of Representatives was elected president? Try 1881 and James Garfield. Garfield was chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, while Bachmann does not hold such a lofty post in the House. Garfield also hailed from the important state of Ohio, while Bachmann comes from Minnesota – a state she would probably not even win as a presidential candidate.
Here’s more food for thought: Michele Bachmann being in this race actually helps Mitt Romney. Huh? Four years ago, Romney was standing next to liberal Republicans John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, so he had to paint himself as a conservative, which he is really not.
Now, he stands on a debate stage next to Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum, and Herman Cain. Now, Romney can be who he really is, which is more of a center-right Republican. And this time, Romney will win the nomination. Will he get the fundraising money that comes from winning Iowa? No, but guess what? The words “worry,” “money,” and “Mitt Romney” are rarely in the same sentence and for good reason.
Mitt Romney’s challenge is to get beyond the early primaries and caucuses. If he can remain competitive by the time the candidates get to Michigan, Wisconsin, and other states, he will win the GOP nomination. This entire hubbub about Iowa is fun for us politicos, but my life experience tells me that it is not very telling as to who will go further or who will be successful nationally.