Ben Smith Asks: What is Tom Suozzi's Future?
The simple answer is that it will be whatever Suozzi wants it to be. There is zero doubt that Suozzi is any political consultant's dream. He's very intelligent with a great grasp of policy and budgetary issues, he's got the political pedigree (father and uncle were successful LI politicos), the proven track record (turned Nassau County around), and most importantly, the telegenic presence. This all adds up to a person that will be incredibly successful regardless of what he chooses to do.
However, let's see how he can repair the damage he's done to his political future by continuing to run this campaign. First, we know that Suozzi isn't the most diplomatic of politicians and he has numerous enemies from his unsavory campaign tactics. That means that he's going to have a very powerful man, who himself is not known for his kind and forgiving demeanor, as a political enemy. Let's also consider that his Fix Albany campaign has alienated other powerful politicians like Shelly and Denny Farrell, and things are looking very grim for Mr. Suozzi.
The strategy if he wants to remain politically relevant is to stay back. Nassau County is safe Suozzi territory (except for parts of North Hempstead where DiNapoli still reigns). First and most importantly, he must continue doing a good job in Nassau. He must continue building goodwill and improving his credentials as an executive in order to have any chance at a comeback. Without this first requirement, all the others are pointless. Second, he must continue his Fix Albany campaign, specially with Spitzer and Silver in control. This is the time for a strategic alliance with powerful Senator Dean Skelos to maintain the inside track on everything happening in Albany (enemy of my enemy is my friend strategy). Suozzi must continue to challenge incumbents, just like he did with Sidikman and Hoffman, even if he's not always successful. This will position him as the reform-bearer and as someone that is actually doing something to correct the problem. The third thing is simply to wait. I'm willing to bet that the Spitzer/Silver alliance will be contentious at best. You have an incoming governor who may be elected in a landslide and with a strong mandate going against the existing Democratic power structure in the Assembly. If you think that Silver is going to roll over and let Spitzer do what he wants, I've got a bridge to sell you. The public cannot imagine just how solid the Assembly members are behind Silver. Silver really is a master of running the Assembly and giving his members what they need in order to maintain his power. Anyone that thinks that power will be threatened by a new Governor is way off-base.
Silver's strategy of the government acting in a very slow grind plays right into Suozzi's future. I really think that Spitzer will do some good, but will never meet the expectations that he's setting and that the public expects, mainly because of resistance from Silver and the Republican Senate. This is when Suozzi must use the building influence of Fix Albany to call the Assembly and the Governor for the lack of change. Combine this with the worsening situation of life in New York, and I seriously think that the people that haven't left the state will look at Souzzi as the answer. That's when he sweeps in as the shining knight (probably in 8 years to give Spitzer enough time to be ineffective), and takes control of the state.
After that his destiny is back in his own hands. If he is serious about the reform he's been advocating the last 8 years, it will give him a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of New Yorkers and rekindle his national aspirations.
What are some of the variables to this strategy?
2) Spitzer decides to run for President in 2012. You know that Paterson has no shot. The only real competition for Suozzi would be Cuomo. I'm salivating just thinking about that possible matchup. That's a much fairer fight.
3) Spitzer and Silver actually work well together and do a good job. Time for Suozzi to join Dad's law firm and make millions of dollars a year as a partner. On the flip side, NY will theoretically be better off so there shouldn't be much to complain about (yeah right!).
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