Ambivalent About Andy

So once again a well known political figure has been accused of being sexually inappropriate. Often opinions about such accusations fall along partisan lines. That’s not the case with Andrew Cuomo, however. A lot of Democrats don’t like Andy, either.

Let me say right off that I don’t have a strong opinion about whether Andrew Cuomo should resign as governor of New York. Conventional wisdom says he won’t. A Quinnipiac poll conducted March 2-3 found that 55 percent of New York voters don’t want Andy to resign, although that could change. It’s also being reported that Andy has always aimed at serving four terms as governor, which would better his legendary father Mario, who only served three. Andy is up for re-election in 2022.

In all the years I lived in New York I can’t say I was ever a big fan of Andy’s. Sometimes he did things I liked; sometimes I disagreed with him. I could never see that his being governor made any big difference in the state from the tenure of the last long-serving governor, Republican George Pataki. In between Pataki and Cuomo were two-short term Democrats, Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson, both of whom left office under clouds of scandal.

In all the years I lived in the greater New York City area I never was able to wrap my head around what goes on in the state government in Albany. I don’t think anybody knows. I imagine it to be a dark place, full of locked doors and funhouse mirrors. I also never had a sense that either the state or the city were being managed all that well. Certainly a lot could be done better.

But back to Andy. He has long had a reputation for being an abrasive bully, so when multiple accusers say he runs a hostile and toxic workplace I am inclined to believe them. But whether that or the accusations of his being a sexually inappropriate creep rise to the level of stuff that automatically forces one to resign is a matter of opinion.

I’m seeing a lot of speculation on social media that the accusations against Andy are somehow being generated by the Trump camp. The theory is that if they can replace Andy with a Republican, and Trump is convicted if some crime in New York state, the Repubican governor will pardon him.

Let me say that this is farfetched. First, the accusations against Andy aren’t exactly coming out of left field. Like I said, he’s long been known to be a bully.

Second, any Republican, especially one known to be a fan of Donald Trump, is a long shot to win a statewide office in New York next year no matter whether Andy is running or not. It’s a blue state. The last re-elections of senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand were landslides. Democrats hold huge majorities in both houses of the state legislature. A moderate Republican *could* win the next gubernatorial election, perhaps, but not a really Trumpy one.

It might be notable that in the 2018 elections, Kirsten Gillibrand won 67 percent of the state’s votes, but Andy received 59 percent. That’s still a respectable win, but the difference suggests some frustration with Andy. And Andy might be more vulnerable in 2022 than he was then. Perhaps if Republicans really are scheming to replace him with one of their own, they might do better running against Andy than someone else.  (See The Democrats who could take Cuomo’s place at Politico.)

I do think we need to come to some kind of general agreement as to what constitutes “due process” in these situations; “these situations” being lapses of character that weren’t criminal, or if they were criminal there is not enough evidence for a proper trial. We want to avoid rushing to judgment. I am still sorry that Al Franken was pushed out of the Senate so quickly. And remember Tara Reade, whose allegations against Joe Biden eventually fell apart under scrutiny? On the other hand, such accusations ought not to be easily dismissed but given a respectful hearing. I think we’re still in the “respectful hearing” phase of the Andrew Cuomo scandal story.

And I think the situation with covid patients in nursing homes is the bigger deal.  If a third scandal were to emerge in the next few months, Andy would be toast. And I would be okay with that.

10 thoughts on “Ambivalent About Andy

  1. I’m thinking a Client 9 scenario. Not as smarmy a scandal, but rather having the fingerprints of Roger Stone.

  2. No ambivalence at all, because Cuomo does not exist (any more than any individual politician exists).  There is only one consideration: never give the Republicans a scalp, of any size, for any reason.  Ask them when the shoe is on the other foot.

    • Um… I kind-of agree. No one should ever allow a RightWing Hissy Fit(tm) to claim a scalp. However, I don't mind if Democrats police their own, without regard to what Republicans do. And I hope, at the least, the state and national party have had talks with Cuomo explaining that he will not have their support, so it would be really good if he decided he really wanted to spend more time with other projects.

  3. Once we heal the big, gaping Republican-inflicted injuries afflicting this country – COVID indifference/incompetence, the hi-jacked political system – I hope we can get serious about poverty and basic income. We’ll have to, if only because automation is coming on strong (paging Andrew Yang).

    What even a modest guaranteed income might have done for my mom

    My mom was the hardest worker I’ve ever known, and she did not deserve to be poor. No one does. A guaranteed income gives people the mental, physical and economic benefits that come with a basic level of financial security — including the ability to go back to school and invest in the future. We need to summon the political will to make this reality.

  4. What disappoints me more about Cuomo, if true, are the nursing home allegations.  If those charges are sustained, he should definitely resign.  As for the sexual harassment charges, give the women a fair hearing, but Cuomo as well.  Then let the chips fall where they may.

  5. Thx, Maha.  Tough case, at the intersection of several very different larger issues:

    – Horribly, there is a strong correlation between excessive male sexual energy and "leadership" (see: Bill Clinton).  IMO, this is rooted in our tribal past, burned into our DNA across 100,000 years of inter-clan war.  Strong (male) Leaders got to screw/rape more women; but without [strong male] Followers, they'd get killed quick.  US' puritanical rules about sex preclude "reasonable" outlets for this energy; Europe isn't so freaked out by (male) leaders' mistresses.  Note that this energy often comes out as general dickishness, which works as a negotiating technique, giving advantages to people who like (or can handle) high levels of interpersonal stress.

    – Albany, yeah.  NY is not the only Blue State with corruption problems, but it's big, and old, so it's the best example (with Bonus Points for NYC/Upstate divide). Dem Party has always been a coalition of competing ethnic/religious/social/class/ideological groups, fighting over scraps of pie wrested from the GOP.  Can Dems cut that Gordian Knot & still win the next election?

    – GOP scalping:  Yes, GOP has used their long-term $$$ advantage to create an organization which can look more than one election down the road.  IMO, they regularly hatch plots to undermine potential future Dem Presidential candidates.  Gavin Newsome isn't the 1st Dem Gov of CA to face Recall; in early 2000's, Gray Davis was Recalled after Enron (CEO Ken Lay was Bush Buddy) engineered rolling power blackouts across CA.  Dems are always too busy with The Most Important Election In History (the current one) to look even 2 years down the road.

    – Evaluating credibility & seriousness of accusations of sexual impropriety: not easy.  Women are the largest class of humans with the longest history of worst consistent oppression, so hell yes, they deserve some extra "benefit of doubt".  OTOH, women are human, so they are not always reliable sources of information.  Women have been used as political weapons for a long time, though mostly as Honey Traps.  MeToo opened up new options for political schemers.

    – Process:  This is the key, and I think that's what Maha is getting at.  We have processes for dealing with truly criminal allegations (though in practice, Police, DA's, and Judges apply rules erratically).  But for allegations of non-criminal anti-social behavior by public figures, the "process" is left to various media, so it's biased, sensationalist, personal, and inconsistent.  Gaah!  Now I realize after writing for an hour, that I have no real suggestion for how to fix this…


    RE Cuomo: I don't trust him, and I don't like him (I've read Zephyr Teachout's side), but the worst thing I see here is fudging the Covid numbers from Assisted Living places.  NY Legislature should investigate that.  It will take a while; with any luck, it would drag on into 2022, giving Cuomo reason to drop out of politics.  He deserves our thanks for performing a useful function through 2020, as a counterbalance to Trump's near-genocidal blather about Covid.  I understand why he fudged the numbers; in that situation, I might have done the same.  Leaders need to make hard choices sometimes; but then, they need to accept the consequences of those choices.  In this case, it should probably be a political death penalty, with sentencing delayed to 2022.

  6. The pattern seems to be one complaint,  then another, then perhaps two or three more. Then you get a continuous trickle of complaints.  But never do you get someone or a group coming forward vouching for the person's character and manners.  So we must know what we are putting positions of authority a lot of the time.  There are some fine bosses out their to work for.  A lot of jerks too.  Hire your bosses wisely.

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