Sunday, April 27, 2014

Perry-Cuomo Debate Could Spawn Democrat Dream Ticket

To the surprise of some, a Hillary Clinton Presidential nomination isn't welcomed by all Democrats.

Last week, Texas Governor, Rick Perry challenged New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo to a one-on-one debate. All issues would be on the table. The Perry camp proposed to hold the debate in New York this past week. Cuomo never responded.

As of late, Perry has been scouring the Northeast inviting business' to relocate to Texas. High tax New York has been a target. In an effort to counter these defections, the Empire State has launched it's own overture; effectively waiving business taxes for ten years for companies relocating to New York.

Perry's motivation is two-pronged. A debate with Cuomo would allow him to further showcase the benefits of Texas, it's business friendliness and reasonable cost of living. It would also create the perfect opportunity to quell doubts of his debating ability.

The 2012 Republican debates were none too kind to Rick Perry! In addition to receiving arguably the most "hard ball" questions from the moderators, he caught it from both the right and the left; from fellow Republicans!

Mitt Romney took exception to Perry's description of Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme." This was true. Romney, a strong debator translated the label to insinuate that Perry opposed Social Security. This was untrue.

In his recent book, "Fed Up" Perry had questioned the solvency of Social Security. One of the MSNBC moderators reminded that Karl Rove had labeled Social Security a "toxic issue." Suddenly Perry was debating almost the entire Republican field, as well as the debate moderators.

Next up was the HPV Vaccine and Michelle Bachmann pounced on it! Perry manfully admitted that it was a mistake. The goal of the vaccine had been "to prevent cancer." His "pro life" argument seemingly fell on deaf ears. In typical Bachmann style, the "gadfly" Congresswoman(Donald Trump's word) colored fact with fiction in blasting Perry. Ironically, the legislation was never actually implemented.

From there it was the tuition tax waiver for children "illegally in the country through no fault of their own." The Texas legislature decided by vote of 177 to four, to treat these Texas high school graduates as Texans, exempting them from out-of-state tuition for state colleges and universitites. Perry signed off on it.

Romney, Bachmann and Rick Santorum demagogued Perry mercilessly! The real damage came when debate sponsor, the Tampa Tea Party booed Perry. Republicans may have lost the general election that night.

It is never easy debating a multitude of opinions, simultaneously. But that is what Perry did. The tuition question required simple 10th amendment logic. It was a decision that was Texas' alone. Romney, Bachmann and Santorum believed that Perry should have vetoed the bill. Never mind the fact that there was a near unanimous Congressional consensus favoring waiver!

In the end, Republican faithful concluded that Perry was a poor debator. Some softened their scrutiny when they learned of Perry's back surgery the previous summer. Sadly, in the minds of many, the ability to debate has become more important than actual job performance. A successful debate with Cuomo would lay to rest any and all concerns.

Why would Andrew Cuomo entertain Perry's overture? For starters, it presents the chance to tell America that New York is serious about job creation. Company departures due to both taxes and other reasons are problematic. Just last month Remington Fire Arms announced that it was moving it's plant and 2000 jobs to Alabama. The state's restrictive laws on firearms and Cuomo's apparent contempt for the 2nd amendment are cited as "motivations."

A high profile debate would give Andrew Cuomo the platform to position himself as the alternative to Hillary Clinton. He of the "correct" mindset where social issues are concerned. And, he has Executive experience, something that Mrs. Clinton lacks.

Democrat primaries traditionally have presented alternatives. In most cases it was establishment versus challenger. In 1968 Hubert Humphrey held off Henry "Scoop" Jackson. After losing the general election to Richard Nixon, the former Vice President returned in '72 but was upset by George McGovern.

We recall Ted Kennedy's unsuccessful challenge of then seated President Jimmy Carter in 1980. And who could forget Walter Mondale's "where's the beef" question layed on Gary Hart in the 1984 primary.

By 1988 the party has slipped further to the left. Al Gore was considered the "conservative," Jesse Jackson the "liberal" which landed Massachusetts Governor, Michael Dukakis in the coveted center.

Sporting three consecutive general election losses, Democrats faced a dilemma. Mario Cuomo, considered the frontrunner, shocked party members by staying out of the race. This opened the door for Bill Clinton and his promise of a "New Democratic Party" with a "new kind of Democrat." Aided by Ross Perot's third party candidacy, Clinton won, not receiving 50% of the total vote.

In 2000 Vice President, Al Gore assumed the frontrunner mantle, holding off New Jersey Senator, Bill Bradley. We know the story of 2008. For Andrew Cuomo to emerge as Hillary's rival for the nomination would not be inconsistent with history.

Worrisome for the Democrat Establishment is "what if" Cuomo gained early traction with the base? Nationally defining his America versus that of Rick Perry's might be all that was needed! In politics it is all about perception. And money. Cuomo would have both.

Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren is already seen as a "true believer" by party ideologues. Her jumping on Cuomo's bandwagon would be viewed as "the coming together of two great progressive minds." Suddenly it would be the "future of the party versus the past." The true "pulse" of America versus the "status quot." Warren is currently being mentioned as a Presidential possibility.

Could this development realistically materialize? Heavens yes! To Progressive purists Cuomo-Warren would be the dynamic duo, the ultimate "Crusaders for Social Justice." Especially in comparison to "Wall Streetish" Hillary Clinton. Today's "Progressives view Hillary in much the same manner that the Tea Party views Jeb Bush: "watered down."

A Cuomo-Perry debate would vividly portray the contrasting visions of America. But it wouldn't be about Liberal versus Conservative, rather "how much autonomy" should the individual states be afforded?

This is obviously not the debate that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would seek in their envisioned face-off.

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