Cuomo's Got To Go

[ Posted Wednesday, August 4th, 2021 – 14:34 UTC ]

Let the chanting begin:

"Hey hey, ho ho, A. Cuomo's got to go!"

At this point, it seems that the only person who doesn't agree with that sentiment is Andrew Cuomo himself, who insists he did nothing wrong and will be serving out the rest of his term as New York's governor. Pretty much everyone else (his fellow Democrats included) are calling upon him to step down.

The New York attorney general spurred all of this with her damning report on the sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations against Cuomo. The report concluded that the allegations were credible and backed up by witnesses and other evidence, and that Cuomo had indeed broken both state and federal laws. Accordingly, criminal investigations have begun against him. The state assembly is now considering whether to impeach him. And this isn't even the only criminal scandal Cuomo faces, as he is also under investigation for multiple other lapses as well.

Personally, I've never been a fan of Cuomo's but haven't paid a whole lot of attention to him (since I don't live in New York). My reasons for not supporting Cuomo all stem from his personal political style, which harkens back to the uglier days of "machine politics." Cuomo was raised in a political family (his father Mario used to hold the office Andrew now does), and has lived his entire life in the bubble of political machinery. Sometimes this turns out to be a good thing (as it has with Nancy Pelosi, for example), but sometimes it leads to chasing and abusing power in naked ways that once may have been tolerated but no longer should.

Cuomo's biggest sin, to me, was when he directly aided and abetted some turncoat Democrats in the state legislature. When Democrats unexpectedly gained control of the state senate, a number of them defected and joined Republicans to prevent Democrats from leading the chamber. The Independent Democratic Conference were nothing short of traitors to their own party, plain and simple. And Cuomo encouraged them to turn their coats:

[M]ultiple sources with deep knowledge of the I.D.C. and Republican conferences' dealings confirm that in fact the governor was not a passive observer during the formation of the coalition. He was "deeply involved," they say, and "absolutely" encouraged the marriage that allowed the Republicans to remain in leadership even after the election of a Democratic majority. Furthermore, they say, the governor was a key player after the coalition launched, privately offering advice about tactics and messaging.

The I.D.C. was first formed in 2011 when senators Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Carlucci, and David Valesky (Malcolm Smith would join in 2012 and Tony Avella in 2014) broke away from the Democratic conference's leadership, citing dysfunction. While the breakaway conference continued to vote with Democrats at that point (Republicans held the majority then, regardless), over time the I.D.C.'s relationship with the mainline Democratic conference grew "toxic," as one source put it. The breakaway Democrats began communicating with their Republican colleagues more frequently and cordially.

Sources say there was no long-term, premeditated plan for the I.D.C. to eventually join with Republicans if the 2012 elections yielded a Democratic majority, in part because few foresaw such an electoral outcome. But when Democrats pulled off last-minute upsets and did reclaim a majority of the conference that November (although Cecelia Tkaczyk was not officially declared winner of her seat until January), communication between the two Democratic factions remained chilly, and the I.D.C.-GOP alliance began to come together quickly and, according to one source involved in its formation, "organically."

But while the governor did not originate the idea of an actual coalition, sources say he and his staff were active in "nudging" it along behind the scenes.

The governor's interest, say knowledgeable sources, was ensuring that Republicans had control over the agenda in the Senate, so that he wouldn't be handing over power to New York City Democrats.

"The governor and [top aide] Larry [Schwartz] made it very clear they wanted the I.D.C. to work with the Republicans to run the Senate," one source explained.

Another recalled that there were "many, many conversations" between Schwartz, Cuomo and Republican leaders. The governor frequently expressed frustration with Democratic Senate leaders, and complained that he couldn't work with them.

Before the coalition was announced, Cuomo privately made the I.D.C. feel more comfortable working with Republicans and assured them they "wouldn't get crucified," or be "left out to dry" if they made the move.

When the coalition was created, Cuomo spoke with I.D.C. leader Jeff Klein to offer advice on how to publicly sell the arrangement and move it forward.

This was enough, for me personally, to think Cuomo should resign. Imagine if Joe Biden had brought Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema into his office at the start of his term and convinced them that a Republican Senate would be a better thing for the country and encouraged them to vote for Mitch McConnell for Senate majority leader. That is exactly what Cuomo did, on the state level. How would you feel about Joe Biden if this had happened? That's pretty much how I felt about Cuomo back then.

And my feelings haven't changed in the meantime. Cuomo has, in fact, made them more negative, over time. His governing style is uncomfortably close to Donald Trump's: exercise executive power to the hilt and undermine any investigation into himself. When Cuomo's backhanded encouragement of the members of the I.D.C. was exposed, he was in also experiencing fallout from another scandalous misuse of power, this time over corruption:

With Albany rocked by a seemingly endless barrage of scandals and arrests, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo set up a high-powered commission last summer to root out corruption in state politics. It was barely two months old when its investigators, hunting for violations of campaign-finance laws, issued a subpoena to a media-buying firm that had placed millions of dollars' worth of advertisements for the New York State Democratic Party.

The investigators did not realize that the firm, Buying Time, also counted Mr. Cuomo among its clients, having bought the airtime for his campaign when he ran for governor in 2010.

Word that the subpoena had been served quickly reached Mr. Cuomo's most senior aide, Lawrence S. Schwartz. He called one of the commission's three co-chairs, William J. Fitzpatrick, the district attorney in Syracuse.

"This is wrong," Mr. Schwartz said, according to Mr. Fitzpatrick, whose account was corroborated by three other people told about the call at the time. He said the firm worked for the governor, and issued a simple directive:

"Pull it back."

The subpoena was swiftly withdrawn. The panel's chief investigator explained why in an email to the two other co-chairs later that afternoon.

"They apparently produced ads for the governor," she wrote.

The pulled-back subpoena was the most flagrant example of how the commission, established with great ceremony by Mr. Cuomo in July 2013, was hobbled almost from the outset by demands from the governor's office.

While the governor now maintains he had every right to monitor and direct the work of a commission he had created, many commissioners and investigators saw the demands as politically motivated interference that hamstrung an undertaking that the governor had publicly vowed would be independent.

The commission developed a list of promising targets, including a lawmaker suspected of using campaign funds to support a girlfriend in another state and pay tanning-salon bills. The panel also highlighted activities that it saw as politically odious but perfectly legal, like exploiting a loophole to bundle enormous campaign contributions.

But a three-month examination by The New York Times found that the governor's office deeply compromised the panel's work, objecting whenever the commission focused on groups with ties to Mr. Cuomo or on issues that might reflect poorly on him.

Ultimately, Mr. Cuomo abruptly disbanded the commission halfway through what he had indicated would be an 18-month life. And now, as the Democratic governor seeks a second term in November, federal prosecutors are investigating the roles of Mr. Cuomo and his aides in the panel's shutdown and are pursuing its unfinished business.

Of course, Cuomo didn't resign after all this came to light. He went on to win not only a second term, but also a third. He is now contemplating running for a fourth, reportedly.

I always hesitate when telling voters in another state how to exercise their franchise, but in this case it really is a no-brainer. Andrew Cuomo needs to go. He can either exit now by either resigning or being impeached and convicted by the state legislature, or he can be defeated either in the next primary or the next election. But one way or another, he has overstayed his welcome.

I thought all of this before the attorney general's report was made public. Now that it has, Cuomo is being almost-universally reviled for illegally grabbing women and creating the most toxic of workplaces. He even groped a state police officer assigned to his security detail. Not even Bill Clinton went that far. In this era of "Me Too," it's pretty obvious that Cuomo can no longer perform the duties of his office with any credibility whatsoever.

You can put it in the language of the right of the political spectrum or the left. But whichever slogan you choose, for once there is truly bipartisan agreement for what needs to happen next: either Cuomo needs to be "cancelled," or he needs to be mercilessly hounded by people chanting: "Hey hey, ho ho, A. Cuomo's got to go!"


[Technical Sloganeering Note: OK, I realize that the chant would be a lot more elegant if Cuomo's last name had four syllables. So if you don't like the "A." in there, feel free to change it to something easier to scream at a passing motorcade. "Governor Cuomo's" or "Andrew Cuomo's" can work, if you speed up the cadence of the phrase enough (blur the syllables). Or you could drag out that first syllable so it lasts two beats "Cuuuuuuu-o-mo's." So feel free to experiment, as my suggested example could certainly be improved upon, I freely admit.]

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


11 Comments on “Cuomo's Got To Go”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    hey, didn't someone mention this stuff before? oh, wait... ;p

  2. [2] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    In my decades of occasionally attending leftish demonstrations, I have learned to thoroughly loathe the 'hey hey, ho ho' chant. Its monotony and lack of imagination is only outweighed by its insipidity. I was appalled to see you tout it, even in fun.

    I do agree that Gov. Cuomo is on his way out, effectively in the next few days or weeks, not via defeat in next year's election. What I am curious about is whether there is a younger generation of Alpha Males growing up in our society today, groomed to run corporations, associations, or government offices, who have effectively been socialized to respect women's physical dignity even as they may continue to corruptly manipulate their offices or wield power for personal gain and/or satisfaction.

    Is the Me Too movement going to have a long term effect, changing the game of what powerful men can do to subordinate women? Will Cuomo's fall, in line with those of several other prominent power brokers over the past few years, contribute to a real change in our society?

  3. [3] 
    Kick wrote:

    If he doesn't resign, they need to impeach him.

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    these things endure pendulum swings over time. i'm sure the "alpha male" will come back in a form where violations are streamlined and deniable, before fading in the face of the subsequent swing. hopefully things will improve overall on average.


  5. [5] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    I guess he'll be a d-bag to the very end, but Cuomo is dead man walking, fer sure.

  6. [6] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:


    As the Hamilton song goes: "You’re gonna need congressional approval and you don’t have the votes."

    Biden does not support medicare for all and made that clear in the primaries. He does support a public option. Pelosi pulled the medicare for all bill before a vote because it was quite obvious that it had no chance of passing.

    Biden did increase the minimum wage to $15 for federal employees because it could be done with an executive order. Back to the Hamilton line for congress. But I think it is interesting that with the covid unemployment payments, $15 is becoming the de facto minimum wage without the need for a law. We will see if that lasts...

    But how long does a president get to fulfill campaign promises? I would think he would have his entire term and not have to wave his magic democrat wand to fix your poor life choices on day one.

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    well, there's that big, beautiful wall on the border to think about, and it was so nice of mexico to offer to pay for it...

  8. [8] 
    andygaus wrote:

    By the way, does anyone besides me remember when people were talking about Cuomo as a more vigorous and vital person than Biden to head the Democratic presidential ticket?

  9. [9] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Cuomo did look presidential on TV when the real one couldn't be bothered. Too bad about the behind the scenes stuff, the nursing home covid problems as well as the current scandal. I bet he is just pissed that this is likely to end his political career when Trump got away with much worse...

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    But, but, butt ... oh, he was so loved during the early of the pandemic ...

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, his messaging during those early days was one of the most compelling, I'd have to admit.

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