THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: True or false

T or F: SPEAKER HEASTIE has a better job than Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

True: The speaker is king. He and his people will tell you about the power of his conference. He might say, “They tell Me what to do, not the other way around.” They may say that but it is, of course, boo-shu. Look at it this way: when the final meetings on the budget occur among the major players and their staff, the principals sit down and make decisions. They can’t go back and ask at every juncture. They may well know the sentiment of their people but in the end, these leaders know the parameters of what they are allowed to do. The position of speaker is forever, unless, of course, they are indicted. As for the Senate, it’s smaller and each of the players has more power.

T or F: Sheldon Silver almost got off the hook.

True again: Donald Trump was pardoning his supporters and sycophants. I still can’t believe that he got away with it. However, in the last group that he pardoned, there was a White House appetite for pardoning Silver. The word got out and it looked like Silver would be a free man. I suspect that it was designed to protect Trump’s rear by saying, “See, we pardon Democrats, too.” This was really cruel to Shelly. At the last minute, the Trump people had major pushbacks and the decision was reversed. I’ve interviewed Shelly many, many times. He once was reported to have said that he would give campaign contributions to the DA in Manhattan and if the checks were cashed, he would know that he wasn’t going to get indicted. As Freud was reputed to have said, “There is no joke.” Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Is Gov tough enough for 4th term?

I AM WRITING THIS COLUMN just to show that I have been right about Tough Guy Andrew all along. It is so clear that Andrew has done what most of us could not. As his “Tough Guy” appellation suggests, he hangs tough no matter what hell is going on around him. I know—I have been watching the guy for years. When it looked like his bust up with Kerry Kennedy would spell the end of his political career, it didn’t. Similar story with his celebrity girlfriend, Sandra Lee. He toughed it all out and has served three terms. If I am right, he will run for a fourth. If he doesn’t win, so what? He has plenty of money, including $4 million advance he received for the self-praising book he wrote claiming credit for the way he handled the pandemic. He’ll take his chances, just like his wonderful father did when he ran for a fourth term and lost. Incredibly, Donald Trump held onto his base no matter what despicable things he said and did regarding women. None of that stopped his political followers for voting for him. The accusations against Andrew have dropped lower and lower in the public spotlight while those against people like Matthew Gaetz have taken the top billing.

The truth is, there’s been a concerted effort among anti-Cuomo people all along to take the guy out. What with the newspapers and his female accusers and people like the majority leader of the New York State Senate, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, calling for his ouster, his troubles seemed formidable. You or I might be hiding in the corner with our eyes closed if we were to find ourselves in his spot. The pain would be intolerable. But not Andrew.

If you heard his budget address, you could figure out what he was up to. He spoke well of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. Heastie is the key. He’ll be calling the shots on a Cuomo impeachment. Speaker Heastie has been playing his Cuomo cards very deftly. Not so much Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who told him to get politically lost. If he spoke at all about the Lieutenant Governor who would take his place, at least temporarily, I must have missed it. For now, Andrew is hanging tough. If another woman were to come forward, it doesn’t seem to matter. It has reached the ho-hum stage. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: What are the odds?

NEW YORK STATE will now allow us to gamble, legally, on sports betting. But what about political betting? You’d have to be impaired not to understand that along with drinking and prostitution, gambling has always been part of our culture. Now the great New York Seal will make it all completely kosher. That will lead to some additional gambling addiction but, as referenced above, there are already a lot of people gambling and now many more will profit from the enterprise. It’s common knowledge that people will bet on anything, so let’s open our own political bookie joint. Here are some examples of what could happen:

Andrew Cuomo will survive his present scandals and even run for a third term. My imaginary bookie says 3-1 odds he beats the accusers. There are a couple of things to watch here. Letitia James, the attorney general, and Carl Heastie, the speaker of the Assembly, have asked for outside experts to come in and “investigate.” That’s a tip off. The last thing people want is for “Tough Guy Andrew” to get angry at them. TGA, as his nickname implies, will tough it out. He has no reason not to. He is not about to go to jail for kissing someone. Donald Trump has led the way in this field and with everything else that DA’s and prosecutors have on their plates, it is unlikely that they will bring any charges against Andrew.

Now, let’s consider the matter of who will be the next mayor of New York City. Right now, Andrew Yang is leading in the polls. The pundits are saying, “Too early to tell.” Yang is considered by some to be a moderate and an outsider with little to no experience. But Yang grew to be a familiar face during the last presidential race. So far, none of the other mayoral aspirants have really caught fire. Liberal New Yorkers are not ignoring the rash, stupid, xenophobic, anti-Asian-American fools out there. They will be more than happy to vote to buttress the fact that New York is a very sensible, feet on the ground, democracy. The last thing that most of the New Yorkers I have been talking to want is more of the “same old, same old” politicians that they really do abhor. Their present mayor, Bill de Blasio, is walking out the door with his tail between his legs. New Yorkers will want someone from the middle who seems “with it” and they will see Yang as a contender. My imaginary bookie says he is the favorite. Odds are 3-2 that he makes it to Gracie Mansion. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Biden weighs cost of SALT

“YOU GET what you pay for.”

It’s always a question of when rational policy meets the politics of the moment. Now it’s the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) versus the question of, “How are you going pay for it?”

This was the doing of Donald Trump, who decided that he would get more money out of the wealthy Blue States by limiting the amount that citizens could deduct from what they owed the IRS up to $10,000. Read more…