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Opinion: History, Hitherto, Henceforth

The history of all hitherto existing New York Politics is the history of Cuomo’s.

“All” is an oversimplification, but when a father and son tandem wins six gubernatorial elections governing for over two decades between them, it’s more true than false. This has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic. The son half of that “father and son” team, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave nationally televised briefings in which he projected a hyper-competent image when juxtaposed against Donald Trump’s madness (remember bleach in lungs?). During those now-infamous briefings, Cuomo regaled us with “the boyfriend” and other awful anecdotes. He asked “Who cares?” when a reporter dared to inquire about thousands that died in nursing homes.

In an extremely ironic moment, after Attorney General James’s released her report detailing Cuomo’s pattern of sexual harassment, intimidation, and retaliation he’d probably rather people care about nursing home deaths. As the always satirical, and often brilliant Onion headline noted “Cuomo Increasingly Desperate To Shift Focus Back Onto Nursing Home Deaths.”

I think we, and especially our legislature, should be expected to focus on all the illegal and problematic issues surrounding Cuomo. I don’t say this out of schadenfreude or to dilute any of the individual issues, but because the breadth of Cuomo’s wrongdoing shouldn’t be seen as an isolated instance of his tenure or flaw in his character.

He should save us the headache of impeachment and resign immediately but I can’t see him bowing to the pressure of a legislature he despises. He’d never be so courteous to the state he’s ruled for the last decade. Last week I thought his safest play was to announce he’s not running for reelection. Since then been reported he’s trying to offer that as a deal to avoid impeachment. The legislature shouldn’t take that deal but it may result in some of his previously staunchest supporters no longer pushing for his immediate resignation or removal.

Cuomo has displayed an amazing, but also not surprising, lack of self-awareness. He insists that it’s all “political” as if the ordinary act of kissing and hugging friends in public settings is a defense that exonerates him from sexual harassment and the creation of an intensely hostile work environment. His remaining defenders seem to, somehow, be even less aware. Some claim that this is a matter of anti-Italian discrimination when such a claim itself disparages Italians. Considering the vowel placement in my name, I find this “anti-Italian” argument personally insulting. Others, like Kenneth Cole, who was granted VIP treatment for COVID testing, asked us not to forget the “clarity” Cuomo brought in a time (Spring 2020) of despair. I clearly remember that Gov. Cuomo cut Medicaid in the middle of a pandemic.

Henceforth, New York deserves new unblemished and uncompromised leadership ASAP.

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