Silent No More

I spend much of my time bashing Republicans. Sorry, there has been too much fodder over the past decade or so. What I enjoy the most is when I do a policy article. My concern for policy is what makes me a political junkie. Today I’m going to wash some “dirty Democratic laundry” in public.

For years I have been skeptical of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He is the son of the late Mario Cuomo who was a Democratic legend. I long suspected Andrew was little more than a lucky sperm cell and didn’t like some of his associations. I do not personally know him nor do I have any inside information on him. He became governor in 2011 and I left New York in 1999.

When Chris Christie’s scandals started to become public knowledge I didn’t like the many Andrew Cuomo connections. Christie’s avoidance of federal prison is one of the amazing stories of 21st century American politics to me. That was my first clue. I honestly had no idea of Andrew’s bully personality but alas I’ve been away from New York for over 20 years now and can’t remember the last time I chatted with one of my political buddies from my Buffalo days.
In the early days of the pandemic when Cuomo emerged as a left wing knight in shining armor I had my doubts. The reality is that next to Trump anybody looked good. Unlike many other progressives I kept almost totally silent about Cuomo.

A few weeks ago it became public that Cuomo cooked the books when it came to coronavirus deaths in New York. Perhaps his excuse of doing so to navigate the obviously incompetent Trump administration response was to a large degree truthful. It is well documented that governors, Cuomo included, were forced to massage Trump’s ego in an effort to save the lives of their constituents.

Then came a sexual harassment charge. As is my practice, regardless of political party, I kept an open mind. A single accuser and scant documentation; it was a he said/she said as far as I was concerned and that is never comfortable nor conclusive. As of this writing (early Tuesday afternoon) there are now three accusers and evidence to reinforce some of the claims. That tips the scales at this preliminary point. The COVID body count and related accusations are another issue.

Both scandals are in the process of being investigated. Let the investigations proceed and hopefully the truth will become apparent. In any event Cuomo is certainly guilty of less than the best behavior (I’m being kind again) and his political career should be history. He is up for reelection in 2022 and I can’t see him winning. If he were the Democrat’s nominee for governor I see his candidacy hurting down ballot Democrats. He needs to exit the stage. The only question in my mind is how.

Impeachment from office with the Democrats controlling the New York State Legislature is uncertain at best. He may not have universal love among them but voting to oust him is another thing. The Cuomo name is close to Democratic political royalty in New York and standing up to a political bully is never easy. The investigations are certainly a risk. Getting them off the front pages would be beneficial to Cuomo.

What I am proposing he do is make a statement along these lines: My presence in office has become a considerable distraction from executing my policy desires and duty to serve the people of New York State, therefore in the interest of the people of New York and the Democratic Party I am announcing that I will not pursue reelection. I will faithfully serve out my present term and then retire from political life.

That may to a degree call off the wolves. It takes any pressure off of the state legislators and state Party officials. It allows the Party ample time to come up with a 2022 ticket (which unless New York Democratic politics has changed dramatically in the last 20 years will be wild). Politically the biggest danger is that Cuomo damages the “brand” to the point New York ends up with a Republican Governor and/or a Republican controlled legislative chamber(s); both of which are possible if Cuomo insists on sticking around.
Even that solution may not prove sufficient. He may yet be forced to resign but a declaration of “retirement” is a first step that may well work. It doesn’t preclude a subsequent resignation. It would also suit his ego in that he can always claim he walked away on his terms.

I understand the call from some Democrats to not “Franken” Cuomo. (A reference to the hasty purging of Al Franken from the Senate over sexual harassment allegations.) Allow me to digress a bit on the Franken accusations. First there was a picture of an incident well prior to his running for office where, when in his previous life as a comedian he was photographed with his hands over the life vest of a sleeping woman who made her living off her sexuality with his hands above the area covering her breasts. Perhaps my age is showing but considering all the factors I’d give him a pass on that. To me the totally inappropriate ones involved grabbing the butts of multiple women while they posed for pictures during his time as a Senator. As sexual indiscretions go those are mild but still totally unacceptable from a sitting U.S. Senator. There are many female members of the Senate I consider attractive and I largely agree with on policy issues with. I would happily pose for a photo-op with them. If they grabbed my posterior I would certainly be at least disconcerted and consider the incident beneath the dignity of their office.

In any event Cuomo must go.

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