On Monday, actress Cynthia Nixon declared her candidacy for Governor of New York. Although famous for her role as Miranda on HBO’s Sex and the City, her video campaign announcement focused on her role as an everyday New Yorker.
Sure, she wanted to distract from her celebrity but by focusing on the fact that she picks up her kids from school and rides the subway, she is telling New Yorkers she is exactly what Cuomo is not and never has been–someone who relies on New York’s basic institutions–schools, transportation, etc. “New York is my home,” Nixon says in the video. “I’ve never lived anywhere else.”
Under Cuomo, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has become the laughingstock of the transit world. Visit Twitter on any given day and you will see commuters lashing into the governor for failing them, for making them late to work. Meanwhile, Cuomo has advocated strongly for charter schools and failed to deliver the millions of dollars in funding a judge found was owed to the state school system.
Cuomo and his staff will tell you they have the right to attack critics because of their record. And yet, their record on some pretty basic things is simply abysmal. Ethics, accountability, loyalty to the Democratic Party–things Cuomo ran on are exactly the things he’s failed at.
I don’t have to tell you that I am no great Cuomo booster, but last week I found myself defending the man on Twitter as Republican Rep. John Faso tore into the governor in a letter criticising him for his lack of decorum, bipartisanship and honesty in his attacks linking Faso to federal tax cut legislation.
“While Mario Cuomo certainly was a vigorous political combatant, he always conducted himself in a way which was compatible with his office,” Faso wrote in a letter to Cuomo. “Although I had many disagreements with him, Mario Cuomo was at his core, a man of principle and honor. You, on the other hand, sir, are no such man.”
I tweeted that Faso has no leg to stand on when discussing honor because he’s supported President Donald Trump, adopting his propaganda and attacking “fake news.”
I was happy to see Cuomo going all in against members of Congress who support Trump. On Monday, I was reminded by a Politico NY report about just how thin this act is.
Politico reported that a pro gun control ad produced and paid for the State Democratic Party that Cuomo controls and that was touted as targeting New York House Republicans has only aired in New York City and cost $64,000, of the promised $100,000 buy.
Why only target New York City? Certainly not to pressure upstate and Western New York Congressional Republicans–perhaps then in an effort to boost his credentials with liberals as a message to Nixon and to sure up his numbers just as his best friend and long-time adviser Joseph Percoco was convicted of multiple federal corruption charges? Yeah, that’s almost certainly it.
“He’s almost been having an emotional meltdown in the last week and a half,” Billy Easton, who serves as executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, told The New York Times last week.
It speaks to one of Cuomo’s biggest problems–his inability to act on an issue without it directly benefiting him and his political standing. Most politicians I know are better at hiding the fact that everything they do is designed to benefit themselves. My 4-year-old daughter is better at it.
With Nixon’s announcement pending, Cuomo suddenly won the endorsement of non-New Yorker Elton John, who is thought to appeal to the LGBTQ vote, like Nixon. Of course, Cuomo has faced major criticism from LGBTQ groups for essentially abandoning issues important to them after successfully advocating for marriage equality earlier in his term. His excuse has been that Republicans control the Senate. Cuomo though, has done next to nothing to support Democratic candidates for the Senate and he’s had plenty of chances.
He also won the endorsement of the National Organization of Women, despite the fact that he’s failed to encode a woman’s right to abortion into state law–a promise he made years ago while pushing the Women’s Equality Agenda. His excuse? Yes, you guessed it–Republicans control the state Senate. Not to mention the fact that in the #MeToo era Cuomo has consistently fumbled the ball on sexual harassment claims made against his own administration and the legislature.
Then came the Times Union’s report over the weekend that a top official at the Division of Criminal Justice Services who had been accused of years of sexual harassment, racism and ageism was not disciplined; instead, his accusers who provided testimony about his behavior to the Inspector General’s office were punished. The punishment was doled out despite the fact that the IG reportedly found the accusations to be true.
Cuomo and his administration have shown time and again that they don’t feel that they are subject to their own laws, their own standards. They don’t care about issues until it directly benefits them to do so. Cuomo has built an administration based on fear and intimidation. And over the next few months we’ll hear more dirt, thanks to the upcoming trial of former SUNY Poly head Alain Kaloyeros.
Cuomo will likely defeat Nixon handily in the primary. Or maybe not. But by September, even more New Yorkers will see that Cuomo is a hypocrite, a fraud and motivated only by power. His presidential ambitions will almost certainly be in shambles.
What voter is going to think to themselves, “Gee I want to vote for a power mad, ego-maniacal hypocrite who has no regard for process and believes themselves to be above the law?” especially when we already have Donald Trump as president.