American politicians for decades have found it useful to publish books that purport to explain their lives and policies. These tomes usually answer critics and give fans talking points. Like the people behind them, the works vary in candor, accuracy and depth.
Last week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo became the third in the current crop of statewide incumbents to publish books that mixed personal self-reporting with a broader political message.
Sen. Charles Schumer timed his "Positively American: Winning Back the Middle-Class Majority One Family at a Time" with the 2008 national election. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand recently came out with "Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World," geared toward women's involvement.
Released three weeks before Election Day, Cuomo's "All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life" is the latest and lengthiest. By describing early in its 500 pages his failure in the 2002 Democratic primary for governor, and recounting having managed, while in his 20s, father Mario Cuomo's entry into politics, the incumbent governor reminds the reader in those and 1,000 other ways he was not always an advantaged player.
Challenges, competition and perception are, of course, big themes. "Politics always was and still is a contact sport. You need to have the strength, capacity and conviction to deal with confrontation," Cuomo writes. And at different points, he cites the Albany media's taste for "scandal" and the lightning speed of today's communications, with "almost no time to verify."
In case you believed this was written merely for future generations, Cuomo says on page 491: "I am running for reelection because I want to continue and increase our progress." Cuomo faces Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, and others, on Nov. 4.
Campaign-year autobiographies don't always help. Just last year, candidate Christine Quinn published hers before losing the New York City mayoral race.
TRYING AGAIN: Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said efforts are underway to reschedule President Barack Obama's visit to Long Island, which was set for Garden City on Thursday but canceled amid the developing Ebola crisis.
"I don't think it will be in the next week or two, but that doesn't mean it isn't in the next three months," Jacobs said of a new date.
He said he sent an email to supporters saying those who cannot make the rescheduled date can be refunded for their tickets to the Democratic National Committee fundraiser.