8/28/14

New York Times Endorses Tim Wu for Lt. Governor

The New York Times Editorial Board, acknowledging that the New York lieutenant governor's office  is a "feeble" one, has endorsed Tim Wu, Zephyr Teachout's running mate, against Gov. Andrew Cuomo's lt. governor pick Kathy Hochul in the September 9 Democratic Primary.

Comparing Columbia Law professor Wu to former congressional representative Hochul, the Times saw newcomer Wu bringing a fresh voice and perspective to old boy-dominated Albany that Hochul, with her "deeply troubling record on health reform, gun control and environmental deregulation", could not.

Earlier this week, the Times passed on endorsing Wu's running mate, Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout, for governor, citing her lack of political experience.  The Times saw Wu's political inexperience as less disabling because he is running for a less responsible job.  

Recognizing this, the Times said, Wu is seeking the job as a pulpit -- to act as a de facto public advocate focusing on consumer issues, Internet access and enterprise zones.

Cuomo chose conservative upstater Hochul as a running mate to balance his ticket. Although Hochul now says she supports gun control, the National Rifle Association endorsed her in her unsuccessful 2012 congressional re-election bid.

Hochul is on record, as a re-election campaigner in a Republican district, boasting about repeatedly voting against “Obamacare"; opposing drivers' licenses for undocumented immigrants; openly embracing the repeal of emission standards for cement manufacturers; and de-controlling open-pit mining and other dirty industries.

The Times saw Hochul's willingness to shift her politics to fit the ticket as indicating a lack of independent judgement.

What Lu lacks in political experience, the Times said, is balanced by his "impressive record" as a legal scholar, particularly in Internet law and policy. He coined the term “net neutrality", and has advised the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of consumers fighting to prevent the corporatization of the Internet.

As lieutenant governor, Wu promises to speak out on issues like immigrant rights and the scarcity of broadband access in New York City, which Albany typically ignores -- if he can learn to navigate Albany's daunting political environment.

Hochul, a Buffalo banker and county clerk before her election to Congress, has a background in economic and job development in western New York.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor will run on the governor’s Democratic ticket in November against the Republican slate.

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