Yet it is far from clear that all of this unaccountable will overthrow Andy. Recently Survey show that Cuomo’s voters largely still have his backs: half of New York’s voters want him to stay in office while smaller stocks say it’s time for him to leave. Democrats are even more supportive, with around two-thirds saying he shouldn’t step down.
This is all the more confusing when you consider how consistently Cuomo ruled New York against the express wishes of his own party, particularly its rising progressive wing and its vocal supporters in New York City – from the billions in public subsidies he offered to Jeff Bezos is eager to lure an Amazon headquarters to Queens to oppose the tax hike on the state’s richest residents. Some of the governor’s advisors in Albany did close family ties to powerful state lobbyists or close political ties to the Republican Party. For years, his closest supporters in the state parliament were a gathering of conservative, ethically challenged democrats. And despite everything, he indulges in playing the responsible man when confronted with one collapsing subway system in New York City and damaged railway tunnels Beneath the Hudson River, Cuomo has dubiously claimed to have little or no authority.
But what makes Cuomo the little one popular with his voters? The answer seems to be in part his relentless control over the political narrative, as well as a Praetorian guard of powerful special interests that he has nurtured over the years. But there’s also something deeper: the tendency of voters to appreciate tenacity – or more precisely, rampant, incessant aggression – above all else, despite a story that shows that you don’t have to be an idiot to be a good governor of New York .
Andrew Cuomo has always shown a bulldog-like tenacity in crafting the story he wants to tell. In campaign season and beyond, New Yorkers are bombarded with television ads telling us the great things Cuomo is doing. It is this relentless messaging that has reportedly been the cause of some of the “toxic” and “hostileWorking environment in his office – the breakneck pace that Helper withdrawn from holidays and children’s birthdays to transcribing television interviews that wear out not in the service of the people but in polishing the image of Dear Leader.
When things go bad there is always a little tact to distract us. New York’s response to the pandemic has by no means been good. The state suffered second highest rate of Covid deaths in the country. However, Cuomo’s daily press conferences on the virus last year resulted in national awards, along with one Book contract and a Emmy Award. (“The first Emmy ever to control the narrative,” said longtime Cuomo critic John Kaehny, executive director of the Reinvent Albany public surveillance group.) Heading in Fashion last march. “Help, I think I’m in love with Andrew Cuomo ???” on Jezebel writer confessed.
Another reason Cuomo managed to hold up is because of its sheer strength. Undoubtedly the riskiest thing Cuomo – a man who has been at or near the center of state and national politics since his youth – said in his time of discontent: “I’m not part of the politics association.” The fact is. that Andrew Cuomo is the political association – at this point pretty much the just political association still active in state politics. He is at the center of a cozy network of corporate donors, government agencies, public sector unions, business associations, black churches, and pretty much every other major political actor in New York. The result is a state government that continually delivers big plans and bad results with little consequence. Hospitals and nursing homes followed the Cuomo government’s failed plan to transfer dying Covid patients from one to the other – after that The governor pushed through a bill Immunization of the nursing homes of possible wrongdoing.
To their credit, some New Yorkers have publicly revised their views on Cuomo amid recent scandals. But majorities of voters still approve on the way he is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and the allegations against him. Undoubtedly, this is in part due to the fact that we New Yorkers have made work of endless hours in a toxic environment a badge of honor. Aside from this bias towards office masochism, however, I fear that there is another explanation: New Yorkers don’t believe we can do better.
Let’s call it PTSD due to 1970s government disorder, Stockholm Syndrome, or some weird kind of vanity. But the prevailing belief over the past few decades, even among some of the bluest liberals I know, seems to be that we are so tough and unruly that only someone with the personality of a bridge troll can rule over us.
We applauded Cuomo’s regular abuse of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio as if we were in a price war instead of watching two supposed adults take care of the largest city in our country. We stuck to this mentality even when we saw the political tanks of former New York tough guys like Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani break open like so many overturned beetles on the national stage. The suspicion grows that we are not so very really tough in our pleasures, but rather insular and voyeuristic, which is more due to cheap bravura representations than real strength of character. “If you don’t want people to be mean to you, you shouldn’t go into politics.” “Cuomo may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard.” and “At least he gets things done” are some of the psychic shrugs I’ve heard lately – and for years – from those I know who are part of Cuomo’s legion of apologists.
The saddest thing about New Yorkers’ loyalty to Cuomo is that it traces how we, the people of this state, have lost faith in our own ability to run a democracy. Cuomo may like the nostalgia he evokes when he drives over a bridge named after his father in a car used by the FDR. Such men used to be the rule rather than the exception. For much of the state’s 20th century history, New Yorkers managed to select what were likely the best governors in the nation, Democrats and Republicans: Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Evans Hughes, Al Smith, FDR, Herbert Lehman, Thomas Dewey, Nelson Rockefeller , Hugh Carey and Cuomo the Greater. These were all serious people who got things done. They were also respected men who usually managed to rule without abuse or deceit.
They curbed corporate power and built the public service (TR). regulated utilities, combated child labor, and started worker compensation (Hughes); reorganized the entire government of the state, established the first parking system, and fought for women’s rights in the workplace (Smith); fought for environmental protection and founded New York’s first welfare state before the eyes of the Great Depression (FDR); Introduction of a state minimum wage, unemployment insurance and the right to trade union formation (Lehman); passed the first state law against racial discrimination in the workplace, launched the state university system and New York State Thruway, and oversaw an extensive post-war reconstruction program (Dewey); led the fight for civil rights and brought massive new spending on education, environmental protection and infrastructure (Rockefeller); and pulled New York City out of its financial crisis and rebuilt much of the state’s financial system and physical facility (Carey and Mario Cuomo).
They also made mistakes and had their personal weaknesses. But none of them pretended to rule by abusing or humiliating people. Working to make allies, not shields, relying on inspiration more than fear, and building for people, persistently expanding the circles of freedom and opportunity. Now, the turmoil of the past few decades – crime, economic downturn, 9/11 – and some weak or ineffective leaders in the White House and Gracie Mansion seem to have turned too many New Yorkers into turning to the iron fist.
The awkward question for liberals is: when does this become Trumpism – albeit on a much less threatening scale? When do progressive New Yorkers admit that Cuomo is a man who many of them accept all kinds of sexual harassment and bullying, tons of corruption, tons of incompetence because they like his public figure? How exactly is this different from Trump’s worship?
A former long-time Mario Cuomo employee recently compared his old boss to Andrew by referring to Oscar Wildes Image by Dorian Gray.
“Mario was a complicated man with many good qualities,” the employee told me on condition of anonymity in view of the long memories and knives in New York politics. “He could be mysterious and bullying, not tolerating dissent, and determined.” to destroy his enemies. It wasn’t the virtues of compassion, intellectual inquiry, and lofty eloquence that Mario possessed that showed up in Andrew, but exaggerated versions of the disfiguring sins – ruthlessness, suspicion, arrogant belief in the righteousness of what he did, the need to dominate. ”
Today’s New Yorkers seem to prefer the ugly picture in their closet.