Lew Leone is the vice president and general manager of WNYW-FOX 5. He is taking to the airwaves with his thoughts on current affairs. It's called "Lew's View." The views expressed are not necessarily those of the station or its employees.
In this commentary, Mr. Leone takes Gov. Andrew Cuomo to task for refusing to debate challenger Rob Astorino.
I think it is disgraceful that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will not agree to a one on one televised debate with challenger Rob Astorino. New York voters deserve to see the two candidates side by side discussing their views on numerous important issues facing the state in the next four years.
However, I am not at all surprised since the governor rarely puts himself in a position where he can be questioned or challenged.
He and his team of handlers always insist on having control of every appearance.
Take for instance the strategically timed release last week of Cuomo's new book. TV stations including Fox 5 where invited to interview the governor with the condition that the book would be the only thing you could ask questions about. Cuomo's PR team knows that no real journalist would agree to such conditions and any honorable politician with nothing to hide would never demand such restrictions.
There is one person that the governor loves to debate. Himself. As the Wall Street Journal points out his technique is called "anthypophora." It is according to the dictionary "a rhetorical term for the practice of asking oneself a question and then immediately answering it."
Here is an example: "Why are we doing everything we're doing? Because I tend to err on the side of caution," Cuomo said. "But do I believe it has been the anxiety is higher than the probability right now? Yes."
Since this Socratic device has worked so well for the governor I thought I might try it out myself to see how it works.
Has the governor been asked to appear in a series of televised debates with Rob Astorino?
Will he ever agree to the terms?
Is it possible that Cuomo avoids interviews with the press because he has an anger management problem?
Some people have suggested that.
Perhaps Cuomo avoids debates because he has nothing to gain and everything to lose?
I think that is correct.
Would there be many tough questions about the Moreland Commission, corruption in Albany and whether or not the governor is the subject of a federal investigation?
Did the New York Times endorse Cuomo in the Democratic primary for governor?
Surprisingly no but they also didn't endorse his competitor.
Who are the big losers when the governor refuses to debate and hides behind rhetoric?
All New Yorkers.