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'Take Back America' Conference Is a Chance for Democrats to Highlight Progressive Politics

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y).
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y). (By Dennis Cook -- Associated Press)
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He described Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) as "two relatively moderate candidates" (news to many Republicans, perhaps) who have gradually moved to the ideological left during the campaign. Why? "That's partly a response to conditions and partly a response to the base of the party and its demands," he said.

Hickey was even more blunt, insisting that progressives "had to teach [the party establishment] every step of the way" on issues such as Social Security, the war in Iraq and universal health care. "Every single victory has emboldened them," he said.

While Borosage and Hickey clearly see this week's conference as a chance to highlight the ascendancy of progressive politics in America, they also caution that the newfound power of the left shouldn't cause Democrats to rest easy.

Democrats "learned in this last election that if they get a majority, they better deliver on something," Hickey said. "If they really win a landslide, they really have to deliver."

2010 N.Y. Governor's Race Opens Up

Eliot L. Spitzer's departure as New York governor tomorrow marks the end of one man's political career, while simultaneously kicking off the 2010 governor's race in the Empire State.

Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson will ascend to the top job for the remainder of his fellow Democrat's term. Paterson has made no secret in the past that it is a Senate seat he truly covets -- which raises the question of whether he will seek a full gubernatorial term in 2010.

In case he doesn't, and perhaps even if he does, a crowd of other Democrats are being mentioned for the race.

That list was led by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who had very publicly mulled a gubernatorial bid in 2006 before deciding to remain in Washington and head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. But a spokesman for Schumer confirmed for the Fix late last week that the senator has ruled out a 2010 gubernatorial bid.

That decision ensures that Andrew M. Cuomo, who serves as New York's attorney general, will be the subject of much speculation. For Cuomo, the son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo, a run for governor would be a political comeback of sorts. In 2002, after he had served in the Clinton administration as secretary of housing and urban development, Cuomo began as the favorite for the Democratic nomination for governor but was out-campaigned by state Comptroller Carl McCall and eventually left the race before a vote was cast.

The Republican field is far more open. The big name is Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and failed presidential candidate. He has not actively entertained the prospect, nor has he foreclosed the possibility. Other names mentioned on the Republican side include Rep. Vito J. Fossella and former congressman Rick Lazio, who was on the losing end of a Senate race against Hillary Clinton in 2000.

And then, of course, there is Michael R. Bloomberg, the former Republican and current Independent mayor of New York. Like Giuliani, he has been noncommittal.

While 36 governorships will be in contention in the 2010 election, no race is likely to be more high-profile than this one -- one of the many legacies of Spitzer's rapid rise and cataclysmic fall.

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