Pataki's Little Town Blues

GEORGE PATAKI, New York State's new Republican governor, wasn't endorsed by New York City's Republican mayor, Rudy Giuliani, who favored Mario Cuomo. Mr. Giuliani has called twice to congratulate Governor Pataki, but Pataki hasn't called back. Giuliani is now ignoring Pataki's invitation for a city-state conference because it is not exclusively for him.

In the election, Giuliani backed a member of the opposition party, thus some retribution must be expected for his disloyalty. But if I were advising Pataki (which I'm not; that little dickens, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, is), I'd advise him to patch things up.

Mayor Giuliani is not sitting as unpretty as generally assumed. Ask yourself, why did Mayor Giuliani endorse Governor Cuomo? Could it have been promises of money for the leaky coffers of New York City? Good guess. If Mario Cuomo promised more for the city, he should have been endorsed by the city's mayor, regardless of party.

In New York City, politics are like everywhere else. The important thing is to have someone to blame. Whom could Giuliani have blamed if Cuomo had won? Nobody. But now he has Pataki. If things get worse in the city - if Giuliani is forced to make even more stringent cuts than he's already made - he can blame Pataki. If there are fewer police, fewer firemen, fewer social workers, Mayor Giuliani can throw his hands skyward and look exasperated. ``I told you to vote for Cuomo, but did you? Nooooo... .'' Every time a water main bursts, it will be Pataki's fault.

Rudy can relax. If things go well (and they might), he will take the credit. Despite the cold shoulder from Albany, his governance saved the day. If things go not well, he can blame people he doesn't like a whole lot anyway.

And who is there for Governor Pataki to blame? New York's voters? Yes, but they are not, at last report, good at accepting blame.

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