June 17, 2011

POTUS loves New York

President Obama takes a strong interest in what happens in New York politics. He called on Anthony Weiner to resign without calling on him to resign. He merely said what he would do in the same situation...

In his first months in the White House, the President leaned on several New York Democrats to not run against Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who had been appointed by then-Governor David Paterson (himself a non-elected Governor) to succeed Hillary Clinton, whom the President had selected to be the U.S. Secretary of State. He also declined to endorse the Democratic nominee for Mayor of New York City, presumably out of loyalty to his political and policy alliance with the incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In this second case, by not even issuing a pro forma endorsement of the Democrat, the President was effectively getting involved in local politics and undermining his party's candidate.

Obviously, New York politics is seen as an important place to be seen. Former President Bill Clinton has based his operation in New York City, and Secretary Clinton is now a veteran New Yorker. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani continues to be a national player in Republican circles, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has followed his father Mario as a national contender. 

Aside from its symbolism as the birthplace of patriotic resolve for former President George W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani, New York houses the bulk of corporate and media headquarters, and is central to political fundraising. Even Sarah Palin launched her national bus tour here. Ultimately, nominations and policies in New York (both the city and the state) are out of the hands of most ordinary voters. If party leaders are going to be making their own decisions anyway, maybe having the President of the United States take an interest isn't entirely bad.

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