Scott Walker’s union battles may be getting all the headlines at the moment, but far away in the Empire State a very different governor is getting into a battle of his own with the unions. Although Andrew Cuomo’s union fights have not been the sort of cage match as Gov Walker’s in Wisconsin, they’ve been pretty serious, especially for a state known for its liberal, pro-union politics. Cuomo’s early struggles involved reducing benefits for public sector unions and pushing for a tougher teacher evaluation process. The latest round of the union fight concerns delegate seats at September’s DNC meeting in Charlotte.Politico reports that during the last week, Cuomo removed the leaders of four of New York’s largest public-sector unions from their seats at the convention. Although three of the leaders were eventually reinstated, it was only after considerable wrangling by the unions and frantic calls to Cuomo’s office. Although the Governor denies any motive that at the very least, Cuomo is sending a message to the unions that he will be more difficult to work with than previous Democratic governors.This is an interesting development. Ever since Teddy Roosevelt and FDR, governors of New York have had presidential ambitions—Dewey, Rockefeller (who made it to Veep), Averill Harriman and Andrew Cuomo’s father all angled for the nation’s top job during their political careers.This Cuomo is likely no exception, and significantly, he seems to think that a record of standing up to public sector unions might boost his national ambitions. Looking at Hilary Clinton’s sky high popularity ratings, Cuomo may be thinking that the Democratic center could be the path to bigger things.Meanwhile, this attitude may help him in his home state as well. Delivering the kind of social services that Democratic constituents want in New York at taxes that won’t kill what remaining business there still is in the state will require tough stands against union demands that make would make government unaffordable in the Empire State. Politicians who deliver necessary services at acceptable costs stand to reap considerable gains. And the numbers back this up—early last month, his approval rating stood at an impressive 68 percent.The White House and the Democratic congressional leadership are still living in a kind of Blue Lagoon; the federal government can print money while most states must balance their budgets. That President Obama had no executive experience in state government before coming to the White House means that he has less understanding of the real limits that confront governors and mayors, whatever their party, across the country. Over time, there is hope that a new generation of more realistic politicians who know how things work at the state and local level and who have learned that blue model governance isn’t the only way to get things done will rise to national power.As that happens, some of the polarization in our national politics is likely to fade.The Democratic party is changing, and while it may never become the party of full fledged reform, the country will be stronger and more united as more and more Democrats wrestle with the realities of governance in a post-progressive world.