Dicker does the Cuomo thing to Cuomo

Tweet Share on Facebook Share on Tumblr Print

The headline on Dylan Byers' piece reads "Dicker abandons Cuomo," which certainly appears to be the case for now, as New York Post state editor Fred Dicker trains his fire on the governor who until recently enjoyed a unique, exalted status in his columns.

It's not just that Dicker writes today that Cuomo has lost his mojo and is "adrift," after the governor took anti-Dicker positions on gun control (for) and fracking (implicitly against). 

It's that Dicker is effectively turning one of Cuomo's favorite weapons against him: Today, he renders his harsh judgment as a report citing "insiders" talking of Cuomo's loss of momentum and directionlessness, in a sort of bizarro version of his usual Cuomo-insider-sourced columns channeling the governor's thinking and heaping disdain on just about everyone else.

From the column: 

MORE ON CAPITAL

ADVERTISEMENT

Gov. Cuomo has veered sharply away from the reform and pro-business policies he followed during his first two years in office and is “adrift’’ on a course of murky proposals, frequent indecision, and political obsessions focused on re-election next year and the presidency in 2016, insiders have told The Post.

The insiders, some of whom have known Cuomo for decades, said the governor has become so obsessed with maintaining what until recently were record-high job-approval ratings that he has refused, for fear of alienating politically potent liberal voting blocs, to make tough decisions to cut costs for fiscally troubled local governments, reduce regulations to attract businesses, and approve hydrofracking for natural gas.

On some level it's hard to believe this is it between the two men, though, given Cuomo's longstanding, genuinely special relationship with Dicker, who reportedly once helped settle a dispute between the governor and his father, who Dicker also covered.

(Dicker, on his radio show, said the Times piece which included that anecdote contained a factual error, but did not elaborate.)

Last April, when it was announced that Dicker had a book deal to write about Cuomo's life and career, he strongly objected to the project being called an "authorized." Yes Cuomo and top aides would participate, but, Dicker told me by email at the time, "neither the gov nor any of his people have any kind of prior or post-approval on what I write."

Dicker is now, and has been since long before Andrew Cuomo became governor, a hugely influential presence in Albany, and his columns aren't read by political insiders there so much as they're talmudically parsed.

His current anti-Cuomo jag isn't that hard to decipher, though. Cuomo has run afoul of Dicker on guns and fracking, and more generally with the new, more progressive look he's adopted ahead of 2016. And there are signs that Cuomo is in turn cutting back on some of Dicker's privileges.

Last month, when the trouble began with the passage of Cuomo's gun-control bill without the required three-day waiting period, Dicker expressed outrage that there was no time for opponents to block the bill.

Last year, when Cuomo got the legislature to pass a restructuring of the tax code in a similarly expedited manner in 2011, Dicker praised Cuomo for his political acumen.