THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: No more Mr. Nice Guy?

IN THIS CORNER, Donald J. Trump, aka “The Orange Bully.” And in that corner, Andrew “Street Fighter” Cuomo. Look, it really isn’t hard to figure out what’s going on. Consider the concept of good vs. evil. Let’s face it–Trump is as close to pure evil as this country has ever seen in a president. We’ve had stupid presidents and lazy presidents, but we’ve never had a president who is this fundamentally bad. He’s easily characterized as evil because he doesn’t give a damn about anyone except himself. Just look at his relations with Putin and the Russians. There is a lot of speculation about ex-KGB colonel Putin and what he could possibly have on Trump that makes the president heel like a dog on Putin’s leash. Some people believe that Trump is in the pocket of the Russians and does what is good for them. He has signaled this from the very beginning of his electoral college-won presidency. Mostly, Trump determines who is good and who is bad based on what they can do for him. That’s where his latest fight with Andrew Cuomo gets interesting.

Cuomo has never really been on Trump’s bad list. From time to time, the two men will say nasty things about each other and circle like fighters in a cage. Trump, of course, holds the greater power. Part of this is because he has the power to print money. The federal government can do this, but the states are not supposed to. Cuomo desperately needs the money from the federal government that Trump has (or can print) in order to maintain all the functions of state government. Up until now, it has been pretty obvious that no matter what Cuomo, as the leader of a state that hates the president’s guts, thinks of Trump, there is only so far that he can go in calling Trump out. If he ticks Trump off too much, his chances of getting that federally-printed money are not good. While Cuomo denies that he has been pussy-footing around with Trump, it seems to me that he has been doing exactly that. But now, someone has flipped the switch. The two guys from Queens are in a real street fight. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Bliss + politics = 50 years

ON SEPTEMBER 6TH, 1970, in the back yard of my parents’ house on Fire Island, I got married. It was a beautiful September day and despite certain family discord, it really was a day for Roselle and me to remember for the 50 years we’ve been married. For four or so years before that that, we fought and loved and finally wore each other out to the point that we said, “To hell with it, if it doesn’t work, it won’t work.” And so it began.

Usually I write about politics in this space but trust me, marriage is political. Of course, it is based on love but we have to live, in some cases, for a lot of years with who we are. That doesn’t change. Compromises have to be made. In the case of Roselle and Alan, we couldn’t be more different. There is nothing in the arts that Roselle doesn’t know about. She has written five books, she’s a Holocaust scholar, she successfully taught elementary school, high school and finally ended up with a successful college teaching career that lasted 25 years. She dresses superbly while I am satisfied with pretty much the same thing every day. She has always been a better parent than I. Roselle drove phenomenal distances from Great Barrington to North Adams, Massachusetts where she taught at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She always came home and, for the most part, so did I.

I taught at John Jay and at Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute and New Paltz for a very long time and then as joint professor at New Paltz and SUNY at Albany. We wore out a lot of cars. The differences we crammed into the marriage haven’t changed much after 50 years. Roselle is fond of saying, “It isn’t easy being married to Alan Chartock.” That’s something I suspect many couples repeat to each other from time to time. But somehow, some way, we’ve made it for 50 years. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Word on the street is…

FROM TIME TO TIME, I hear from people on the streets, on the phone and in the mail. I’ve made a composite of a couple of their questions, so here goes:

Dear Doctor: I recently heard from you that Governor Cuomo, who is at the peak of his popularity, has less and less of a chance of being elected president, an opportunity that was denied to his father. You speak to him occasionally, so I ask you—has he forever given up his chances for the presidency? After all, I’m assuming that Kamala Harris will be in a position to be our first woman president. Could Cuomo really primary her? Does he even harbor the ambition to be president? What say you? Sign me, Sasha in Schenectady.

Dear Sasha: Does a bear walk in the woods? Does Andrew, one of the most talented and ambitious politicians in the country, have any ambition to be president? He will deny that proposition until the moment he actually runs. First, Biden has to win. I think that is very likely to happen. Then Biden will have to stick to his early suggestion that he may only serve for one term. That was something that he allegedly said early on in the primary season when things weren’t looking too good for him. A lot can happen between now and then. Andrew is a very ambitious man and somehow, he has gotten himself to be one of, if not THE, most popular Democratic politicians in America. Like his father, Mario, this prince knows how to be patient and think through the combinations and permutations that would be necessary for him to grab the gold ring. Read more…