4:30 pm Oct. 25, 2011
The co-chair of the New York City Council's Progressive Caucus has advice for Governor Andrew Cuomo.
"He just can't deal with social issues, catering to the Democratic base on social issues," said City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito. "We need economic equity as well."
This is, to my knowledge, the first time a liberal New York lawmaker as explicitly made that distinction, essentially arguing that Cuomo's successful passage of same-sex marriage shouldn't be cover for his anti-tax policies.
Viverito was speaking to me after a press conference where city and state lawmakers urged Cuomo to support the extension of the millionaire's tax. (At the event, Viverito said, "I think he is being guided by his future political aspirations.")
When I asked Viverito afterward why he can't rely on social issues to satisfy the Democratic base, Viverito said, "We need equity, equity in all senses. On the social issues we need equity, and on economic issues as well."
An aide to Viverito put Cuomo's motivation in historical context.
The demand for "equity" on economic issues was was "very serious," Viverito said. "That's why you're having all these mobilizations that's resonating with thousands of people, tens of thousands across the nation. We need to really address that. We need leadership and courage for somebody to stand up and speak to that economic injustice."
"It's always the case that a New Yorker aspiring to national office has got to tac to the right, in some way, shape or form," said the aide, Rakim Brooks, while Viverito stood nearby.
When it came to attacking Cuomo directly on this issue, there was a pretty clear line among the officials at the event on the topic of the millionaire's tax. The state legislators avoided attacking Cuomo, while City Council members—who don't deal with the governor directly—were more outspoken.