Hang in There, Guv!

On Friday, March 12, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) addressed the people of New York in a nationally broadcast tele-conference.  The governor requested the airtime so that he could respond to published reports that he had made unwanted sexual advances on six young women over a period of several years. 

However, as the governor relaxed in the executive mansion, working up the courage to present an in-your-face proposition to the people of New York, an aide approached him and whispered, “Sir, we’ve just learned that another charge has been made against you.  There are now seven young women who have charged you with inappropriate sexual advances.”

The governor was taken aback.  He must have thought, “Let’s get this show on the road!!  If we wait another ten minutes we may be dealing with ten or twelve disgruntled females.”   

After a preview of the major items of state business that will command his attention in the weeks ahead, the governor turned to the question of the sexual harassment charges that have been made against him. 

He said, “I did not do what was alleged, period.  I won’t speculate about people’s possible motives, but I can tell you, as a former attorney general who’s gone through this situation many times, there are often many motivations for making an allegation, and that is why you need to know the facts before you make a decision.  Politicians who don’t know a single fact, but yet form a conclusion and then opinion are, in my opinion, reckless and dangerous.

“The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes a position without knowing any facts or substance.  That, my friends, is politics at its worst.  Do I think it is responsible to take a position on a serious allegation before you have any facts?  No, I don’t think it is responsible.  People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth.  Let the review proceed.  I’m not going to resign.  I was not elected by the politicians.  I was elected by the people.  Part of this is that I am not part of the political club, and you know what?  I’m proud of it.”

Yes, it is true.  Andrew Cuomo is not a member of the “club,” and for a very good reason.  Cuomo was born on December 6, 1957 and had his first exposure to the world of New York machine politics in 1972, at age fifteen, when his father, Mario Cuomo, ran for lieutenant governor.  His father lost his first political race but was appointed to the position of New York secretary of state.  In the ensuing twenty-two years, the senior Cuomo ran for secretary of state, lieutenant governor, mayor of New York, and governor.  He was narrowly defeated twice in his mayoral campaigns but served three full terms (1983-95) as governor.

Through all those years, Andrew was close by his side, planning and scheming, intimately involved in all the nuances of Empire State politics.  Throughout his father’s three terms as governor, the two worked closely in tandem to advance their legislative agenda, with the senior Cuomo assuming the role of “good guy” and his son playing the role of “bad guy” in a good cop/bad cop scenario.  Neither of the Cuomos made a lot of friends; both made a substantial number of enemies.

Then, in 1993, the younger Cuomo launched his own political career when Bill Clinton called him to Washington and made him Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Four years later, as Clinton began his second term, Cuomo moved up to the corner office, assuming the role of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.  He later served one term as New York Attorney General before winning the first of three gubernatorial terms in 2010.

Andrew Cuomo’s years as his father’s “enforcer” in the bare-knuckled world of New York Democratic politics has made him the man he is today.  We should not be surprised to learn that, in the 1976 New York City mayoral runoff campaign against Ed Koch, all niceties aside, politically incorrect campaign placards appeared around the city, urging New Yorkers to “Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo.”

The only kind of politics that Andrew Cuomo knows is the “no holds barred” variety.  He’s never been exposed to the “gentler” brand of politics, so when he says he is not a member of the “club” and that he will not resign, no matter how much opposition is generated against him, we should believe him… and, from a Republican standpoint, we should urge him to fight on and to cling tenaciously to the reins of power for as long as he can.

Why?  Because it is in the best interests of Republicans to keep Cuomo’s sexual harassment demons and his Covid-19 scandal alive for as long as possible.  Listening to the questions posed by the brightest stars of the mainstream media on the Sunday morning talk shows, one wonders how the shallowness of their thinking ever allowed them to graduate from J-school.

Over and over again, they ask, “Now that Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Kirstin Gillibrand have demanded that Cuomo resign, how long do you think it will be before President Biden asks him to step aside?”

Have they not been paying attention?  Are they totally unaware that the one Democratic leader who has a more severe sexual assault problem than Andrew Cuomo is… Joe Biden??  The major difference between Andrew Cuomo’s sexual advances and those of Joe Biden is the fact that many of Biden’s improper advances have been captured electronically.  The videos are posted on the Internet for all to see.

For example, on January 5, 2011, then-Vice President Joe Biden groped the breast of an 11-year-old girl for at least fifteen seconds during a televised swearing-in ceremony for her father, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO).  As the C-Span cameras recorded the event, Biden cupped her left breast with his left hand, telling her, “Don’t date ‘til you’re thirty.”
In 2014, Biden traveled to Las Vegas to campaign for Lucy Flores, the Democratic candidate for Lt. Gov. of Nevada.  Flores later complained that, before she took the stage, she felt the vice president get close to her, from behind, lean in, and “inhale her hair.”  She went on to say that he then proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of her head.  Flores said she felt “powerless to do anything about it.  My brain couldn’t process what was happening.  I was embarrassed.  I was shocked.  I was confused.  He made me feel uneasy, gross.”

On February 17, 2015, as newly-sworn Defense Secretary Ashe Carter addressed a crowd of well-wishers in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, Joe Biden stood behind his wife, Stephanie, placed his hands on her shoulders, put his face close against the side of her head, and whispered in her ear.  From the pained expression on her face, as recoded by the television cameras, it was clear that she was not pleased with his unwanted attention.

More recently, a former Biden senate staffer, Tara Reade, has filed a complaint with the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police.  In her complaint, Reade alleges that, at some time during the early ‘90s, Biden assaulted her in the basement of a senate office building.  In an interview with National Public Radio, Reade said that the assault happened when she was asked by a senior Biden aide to deliver a bag to him as he made his way to the Capitol.

Reade recalls that, when she approached Biden, he pinned her against a wall, reached under her skirt, and penetrated her with his fingers.  When he asked if she “wanted to go somewhere else,” she pulled away from him.  He then shook his finger at her and said, angrily, “You’re nothing to me!  Nothing!”

So, is it even remotely possible that Biden, being highly sensitive to his own reputation for sexual abuse and harassment against women and young girls, would gamble that Andrew Cuomo would decline to retaliate if “thrown under the bus” by Biden?  Not likely.  Biden is not known to be either exceptionally courageous or a high-stakes gambler.   

The answer to our question came on Sunday afternoon, March 14, as Biden made his way across the south lawn of the White House toward the Marine One helicopter.  When asked whether he agreed with other Democrats calling for Cuomo’s immediate resignation, Biden said, “I think the investigation is underway and we should see what it brings us.”  He was not about to challenge a man with a mean streak as wide as Cuomo’s to a game of political “chicken.”

So the question arises, how will this game of high-stakes political gamesmanship end?  Will Cuomo eventually swallow his pride, offer his resignation, and head for a life of ease on a sun-swept Caribbean island?  Or will he take a page from books written by Bill Clinton and Virginia governor Ralph Northam and just ride it out?  My guess is that he will choose the latter course, even if it involves an impeachment trial.  If he does, then Republicans will have the pleasure of sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the sexual assault scandals to wrap themselves around both Andrew Cuomo and the guy who stole the 2020 election from Donald Trump.  Either way, it will make for great political theater.  So, hang in there, Guv!!

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College.  He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.

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