Andrew Cuomo is often mentioned as a possible Democrat nominee for president of the United States. Being political battles are often characterized as “fights” it’s easy to use this analogy and see how Andy’s measuring up. After all, you could say he, along with Hillary Clinton, are two of their party’s leading contenders for what amounts to the political heavyweight championship.
One of the first things to understand about boxing rankings and the opportunities that lead to “title shots” is there are certain matches that are mandated by agencies managing the sport. For instance, if there is a crown awaiting a new champion, top fighters vying for that spot must face off against one another. The pairings are decided, and if one of the boxers fails to compete they’re gone.
This system is designed to test the meddle of fighters who have amassed very impressive records at the expense of unknown or unworthy opponents. A guy with a perfect 30-0 scorecard could look great on paper, until you learn he’s only beaten 10 guys with winning records. Devotees of the “sweet science” have seen many an undefeated, untested pugilist take a beating at the hands of 18-6 opponent who’s been battle tested by much tougher competition.
That brings us to Andrew Cuomo. We know in his heart he’s thinking about ascending to the highest elected office in our land, so let’s see who he’s beaten. Cuomo won the governorship in a walk. He crushed self destructive candidate Carl Paladino. It was as easy as the first few years of his reign.
But a funny thing has happened on the way to his second coronation. We might say he began to break training. There were unforced errors. Andrew haughtily claimed conservatives had no place in New York. Soon after, when Governor Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on corruption began sniffing around the him, he shut it down. The NY Times pounced. Even worse, Jon Stewart mocked him.
Then, out of nowhere, came a gritty little amateur, Zephyr Teachout, willing to take on the big name pro in a preliminary bout called a primary. An Associate Professor of Law at Fordham with no real political experience, Zehhyr had to know she was punching way above her weight. Undeterred, she went after Cuomo from the get go. For months Teachout challenged him to debate. For months he hid. Zephyr’s moxie not withstanding, she wasn’t even a qualified sparring partner for the Empire State’s Chief Executive, yet Andrew never stepped into the ring with her. Actually, he brought suit to disqualify her from a bout in which she never should have been considered a threat. He won without slipping between the ropes.
Now the governor has a new opponent. His name is Rob Astorino. Mr. Astorino is one of those fighters who has had to prove himself as an underdog in hard fought campaigns. After losing his first race he was twice elected executive, in 2-1 registered Democrat, Westchester County. Rob speaks fluent Spanish and gets standing ovations in African American churches. Punching above his weight doesn’t bother him anymore than it did Teachout, but the difference is, if given the chance, both he and Cuomo know Astorino can hit hard.
And so Andrew only agreed to a 4 way match, that included 2 minor party contestants, and was broadcast on non mainstream channels. Howie Hawkins represented the Green Party in a way you might expect. Michael McDermott masquerading as a Libertarian but representing only himself spent the evening sucking up to his governor. That left Astorino and Cuomo to exchange some haymakers with the latter taking refuge as often as he could behind 2 fringe distractions he planted on stage.
As of this writing Cuomo continues ducking the 1 on 1 fight against Astorino. While there aren’t any boxing commissions to threaten his elimination, if he’s not careful New Yorkers are liable to show him the door. They’re a testy lot who don’t like big mouths who talk smack and then run from the brawl.
Can you hear the lament? If he wasn’t scared of gettin’ hit he,“could-a” been a “contend-a”. Thing is, in his chosen business you need to show you can take a punch, not duck a fight. Today, if he was on the card at Madison Square Garden, the marquee would read “heavyweight pretender”, Andrew Coumo. That’s not a resume’ enhancer for President of the United States or Governor of New York.