I haven't been online much this week, so forgive me if someone already pointed this out, but...
Do you know what Andrew Cuomo did last week? Besides, of course, the right thing? The man wrote himself a $50,000,000 check to be cashed
if and when he decides to run for president.
Remember Howard Dean's insurgent campaign for president way, way back in 2004? What launched Dean's campaign—what helped him raise a huge & enabling pile of money when he first announced that he was running—wasn't his opposition to the Iraq War. It was his support, as the governor of Vermont, for civil unions. In December of 1999 the Vermont Supreme Court ordered the state to provide same-sex couples with "the same benefits and protections afforded by Vermont law to married opposite-sex couples." The state—under Dean's leadership—opted to create civil unions instead of going the full equality route. (Vermont is one of the six states that now allow same-sex couples to legally marry.) Dean campaigned heavily in gayland in 2003, raised tons of money from LGBT voters who were grateful for his early and, at the time, groundbreaking and controversial support for civil unions. And gays and lesbians rewarded him when he ran for president.
Now go back and re-read the NYT's long, detailed, and kinda moving piece about how marriage equality came to New York last week...
The story of how same-sex marriage became legal in New York is about shifting public sentiment and individual lawmakers moved by emotional appeals from gay couples who wish to be wed. But, behind the scenes, it was really about a Republican Party reckoning with a profoundly changing power dynamic, where Wall Street donors and gay-rights advocates demonstrated more might and muscle than a Roman Catholic hierarchy and an ineffective opposition.
And it was about a Democratic governor, himself a Catholic, who used the force of his personality and relentlessly strategic mind to persuade conflicted lawmakers to take a historic leap. “I can help you,” Mr. Cuomo assured them in dozens of telephone calls and meetings, at times pledging to deploy his record-high popularity across the state to protect them in their districts. “I am more of an asset than the vote will be a liability.”
Connoisseurs of the incompetence and backbiting that plague/characterize gay political orgs will especially appreciate this bit:
Mr. Cuomo was diplomatic but candid with gay-rights advocates in early March when he summoned them to the Capitol’s Red Room, a ceremonial chamber with stained-glass windows and wood-paneled walls. The advocates had contributed to the defeat of same-sex marriage in 2009, he told them, with their rampant infighting and disorganization. He had seen it firsthand, as attorney general, when organizers had given him wildly divergent advice about which senators to lobby and when, sometimes in bewildering back-to-back telephone calls. “You can either focus on the goal, or we can spend a lot of time competing and destroying ourselves,” the governor said. This time around, the lobbying had to be done the Cuomo way: with meticulous, top-down coordination. “I will be personally involved,” he said.
What I would've given to be a fly on the wall during that meeting.
Gay donors are going to richly reward Andrew Cuomo if he decides to run for president in 2016. And if Jay Inslee can pull the same trick in Washington state—get himself elected governor and then manage to get a marriage equality bill through the legislature (which will require a similar smack-'em-upside-the-head meeting with our gay-rights advocates, Jay)—well, it's be hard to picture a ticket with more appeal to queer donors and voters than Cuomo/Inslee.