This article is being written in early Wednesday afternoon and it is a dynamic situation.
On March 4, 2021 I published an article entitled, Silent No More, in which I advised New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to announce that he would not seek reelection in 2022. If political lore is to be believed – and in this case it is certainly believable – Richard Nixon made his decision to resign the presidency after a meeting led by Barry Goldwater where he was informed that impeachment by the House and removal by the Senate were foregone conclusions.
With those two facts in mind, I ask you to follow along with me.
Earlier this week New York State Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James issued a very damning report outlining multiple instances of sexual harassment allegedly perpetrated by Cuomo. The accusations appear to be credible. Cuomo issued a recorded statement rebutting them. It wasn’t very convincing.
I tend to not condemn the accused in a he said – she said situation. A he said – they said situation is much different. There are at least 11 accusers who appear extremely credible. While some of the actions call for drawing a conclusion after the fact and a few are in the grey area (I might be being generous and showing my age) others are certainly not. An arm around a shoulder or waist is one thing; a hand on a breast is quite another regardless of what decade you are operating in!
Nobody reads me for my moral judgements so let’s get to the political. While I see the situation Cuomo finds himself in similar to the one Nixon found himself in a huge difference is that Nixon had political friends. I think Cuomo had allies of political expediency who have now jumped ship because they were never his friends in the first place. Cuomo is a Democrat; his family is basically Democratic royalty which probably more than anything else accounts for the high position he occupies. The New York State Legislature, which can impeach him, is controlled by the Democrats. At this time, it increasingly looks like they are deserting Cuomo. Moral reasons and basically disliking him aside, I think there is a good political reason.
Not only does Cuomo appear to want to stay in office; there is no reason to think he is not planning on running for reelection in 2022. If he ended up being the Democratic candidate in 2022, I think he is DOA. The Democrats certainly don’t want to lose the governorship!
The fly in the remove Cuomo ointment is the sitting Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul. I know little about her and neither do most New Yorkers. There is question as to her electability and with a blank slate she certainly wouldn’t be the Democrats first draft choice. This illustrates a flaw in our political system in that parties often don’t think about the strength of a number 2, but are more concerned with “ticket balancing”. This is a bi-partisan problem. Do you really think Kay Ivey was the Alabama Republicans second choice for governor?
Even if the Democrats end up being “stuck” with Hochul, which is far from a foregone conclusion, with what we know now at least she is a clean and electable candidate. In all honesty who do you think has the better chance in the court of the 2022 electorate Cuomo or Hochul?
Many will say that there was a political element to James’ coming after Cuomo and I will not dispute that. In fact, she has already gone after Trump and I suspect she is far from over on that front. James is not “one of the boys” (and that has nothing to do with gender) and has designs on higher office. However, facts are facts and there is no reason to believe she fabricated anything about either Cuomo or Trump. If she is perceived as the main force that took either or both down that will make her extremely strong at the voting booth!
Had Cuomo taken my advise back in March I think the dogs would get called off and he would have been able to serve out his current term and then retire from public life. He was arrogant and is now faced with a “Dick Nixon moment”. My guess is that he will not resign and will hope he avoids impeachment. Stay tuned, at this point this is far from over.
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