Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is running against Andrew Cuomo in the upcoming gubernatorial race to lead New York State forward if such a thing is possible. I personally don’t believe it is unless Upstate and Downstate divorce each other, but the chances of that happening are about as slim as Barack Obama going down in history as a good president. Still, though a decided underdog, there is a way for Mr. Astorino to come out from underneath Cuomo’s name without shaming the man any more than Cuomo has already shamed himself.
First piece of advice as author of Running: How To Design and Execute A Winning Political Campaign: Forget about bringing up corruption in the Cuomo administration. Corruption in New York is as ubiquitous as white plastic lawn chairs. It is so common, New Yorkers wouldn’t recognize good government if it slapped them in the face daily.
Second, to win this election there is one thing you can do that Cuomo cannot, pull out the Ronald Reagan card and ask, “Are you any better off today than before Cuomo took office?” The answer is without question, “No” and everyone with the exclusion of a wealthy Downstate and those with state jobs knows it. You see what we’re driving at here? Turn the Democrat/liberal tables back on them.
Now the tricky part, and you have to have giant cohones to do this, tell the people of New York you can absolutely guarantee an economic boom the likes of which New York has not experienced in over 100 years. How are you going to achieve it? Energy. When you juxtapose your plan to allow energy production in this state with Cuomo’s refusal, you will be creating precisely the political urgency any rather unknown candidate in a brutal race could want. You will be making it clear that a bunch of fringe frighteners who have not the slightest fact to underscore their claims will not be allowed to restrict the average New Yorker looking for good paying work from getting it. You will be turning the tables on liberal elitists in New York by championing the economic prosperity of the very demographic those Dem/Libs have been using for decades. Your message is, “No, it’s not just Wall Streeters who deserve to live well, it’s you, the regular New Yorker, Upstater and Downstater alike who gets up in the morning and hopes a better economic day is at hand, but finds it’s never the case. It’s you who deserves the chance at prosperity without government stepping in your way at every turn. It’s you who should know that for as long as liberals have been in charge of New York government they’ve been, to steal a phrase from The Outlaw Josey Wales, pissing down our backs and telling us it’s raining.
You Mr. Astorino, through the process of promising to allow the development of that resource critical to every single economic success in the world will bring hope to millions of New Yorkers, the kind that says, maybe your sons and daughters will come home again if there is the kind of economy here that lured them there.
You will have the left screaming and hollering, but you expect that anyway and know it will come. Your case however has already been made for you by no one other than your opponent. He has singlehandedly said “No” to the average New Yorker’s plea for economic prosperity. No amount of money touting a ridiculous story of high-tech businesses running to New York for ten years of tax abatement can convince the unemployed twenty-something on the Southern Tier or the forty year old laid off factory worker in Buffalo that it’s going to get better for them. But you can convince them if you make your case simple, clear and absolute: In the history of modern man, cheap energy is the engine of enormous prosperity.
Now for your ammunition.
Consider that the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), not in cooperation with the oil and gas industry, but as an independent government organization has released the map you see here indicating the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) assessment of how much gas and oil are available in the combined Marcellus and Utica formations. This estimate is based on the latest geological tests which now include increasingly sophisticated techniques. But it is only a very small part of the story.
In an article by Dan Sharp for the Bismarcktribune.com on June 11th of this year, the claim is made that government estimates are falling far short of the realities. He states that the Marcellus formation alone already surpasses production in what was a few short years ago declared to be the largest shale formation in the country, the Bakken formation in and around the Dakotas, Colorado and surrounding states. You will note that unemployment in those producing regions is at historic lows, e.g. 2.6% in North Dakota.
Now consider the following statement: “As impressive as Marcellus numbers are shaking out, it’s really only half the story back East. Another tight shale formation underlies the Marcellus and, according to some industry officials, has the potential to exceed the Marcellus’ performance. It’s called the Utica shale [formation] [which] gets its name from the city of Utica, N.Y., where it outcrops at the earth’s surface.”
But here is the most astounding finding of all: “In October 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the Utica shale to contain approximately 38 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of technically recoverable natural gas, 940 million barrels of oil, and 208 million barrels of natural gas liquids. In comparison, the agency’s April 2013 assessment placed Bakken recoverable reserves at 6.7 Tcf of recoverable natural gas, 7.4 billion barrels of oil and 530 million barrels of natural gas liquids. (Italics mine).
But the Ohio Geological Survey goes beyond even those estimates. It “calculates a Utica/Point Pleasant recoverable reserve potential estimate for the Buckeye State (alone) of 1.96 billion to 8.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent. And yet the area of the formation in New York is larger as you can see on the map with the greatest prize, the deeper Utica formation underlying the Marcellus being largely centered in Pennsylvania and New York.
The reason these technical aspects are important to a political campaign are twofold: First, the USGS just a few years ago (2005) was reporting that the formation was less than half the size they now know it is. Second, the estimates of size, scope and volumes of potential reserves have skyrocketed as the discovery technology advances. What this all means is that if you can capture the collective imagination of New Yorkers and convince them there will be an economic dawn of unprecedented proportions under your leadership as a result of energy development you will have effectively set off an energy boom that will have a profoundly positive effect on not just New York, but the entire country. Moreover, you will have helped marginalize Middle Eastern oil producers which will directly affect America’s global influence while at the same time indirectly putting pressure on antagonist states surrounding our ally, Israel. That’s presidential stuff Mr. Astorino, it sets the stage nicely for an ambitious conservative governor of a ridiculously blue state. Better than that, the net effect of the energy boom you will set off will force domestic prices down to the point that cheap energy will set the entire United States on a footing to compete with China.
Energy is the key sir, and energy alone is what will bring New York back to being the Empire State for all New Yorkers, not just the wealthy few.