Cuomo's Lesson In Leadership To Obama

You can dislike a lot about Andrew Cuomos' first six months as Governor -- I know I do -- but he's made creaking old Albany do some startling things. It would be nice for the country if some of that happened in Washington, and if Obama figured out what Cuomo has.

New York's government has been in bad odor for decades with the chattering classes blaming the Legislature. While some blame is well-earned, pundits hate legislative bodies and swoon over executives. Whatever else can be said about the substance of Andrew Cuomo's term so far, the machinery has hummed like a Maserati at LeMans. 

Has the Legislature become less "dysfunctional" or is something else at work? American democracy is a beacon around the world, strangely enough, because our legislative bodies actually work, as ugly a process as it may be. In Cuomo's five point plan to build a new New York the first step was cleaning up Albany. He told us in order to build this new New York "We must restore honor and integrity to government."

Yet the Legislature's ability to function well turns out to require a Governor who knows how to work with a legislature.  This Cuomo has done by a combination of muscle, reward, punishment and engagement.  

Given the breakdown in governance in Washington, it's a lesson Obama should learn.