You Can’t Fix Anything When These Are Our Only Options

Two sides of the same coin, they are

There was a moment, fleeting though it was, when the wider United States electorate thought Andrew Cuomo was A Thing.

Coronavirus was spreading fast. President Mango Unchained shrugged his shoulders and said “Not my responsibility” as he ordered every department to run around like headless chickens. Meanwhile, Cuomo grabbed every rein of power he could find and pulled on them — as publicly as possible. His daily briefings became must-see TV in a nation where we didn’t understand what we were up against just yet but we knew it was gonna be bad.

That moment has, very thankfully, passed, and since then, Cuomo has slunk back out of the spotlight’s sheen into a more fitting suit: A vicious bully and past-his-prime thug who’s been beset by entirely preventable scandals of his own shitty behavior becoming public.

Today’s report by New York AG Tish James should put the nail in Cuomo’s coffin, though I’m not taking bets just yet; he’s a political cockroach even in the #MeToo era.

This is a huge day for the millions of Republicans in New York who have loathed Cuomo for years. Of course, they hate him because he’s a filthy Democrat who, uh, lowered corporate taxes and, er, used a breakaway group of “independents” to keep the state Senate in Republican hands for years and ummm, resisted every single progressive idea unless he could match it with something grotesquely regressive as a “compromise.”

In some ways, that made him the perfect Democrat. He was willing to go to bat for gay marriage but had to pair it with tax cuts for the wealthy because … well, something. His biggest flash point with the far redder upstate brigade was his response to Sandy Hook; he did extremely minor gun control and that was absolutely the end of the universe. (Get north of Orange County and you’ll find cars and pickup trucks with logos made up of guns that spell out “Fuck Cuomo.” You really can’t miss ’em.)

Though this essay called it long ago, I note the Republican response because — of course — they never dared say “boo” when their guy was doing it. Give the Democrats credit; thus far, they’ve been lining up to, well, this picture will tell the tale …

But I’ll also note that Democrats’ response to Cuomo’s bullshittery — for fuck’s sake, today he blamed his sexual harassment on being Italian — comes only after he’d lied about just how many people died from Covid FOR MONTHS. After spending years being surly about how bad of a job Trump was doing, Cuomo employed the exact same method of cover-up: Deny, lie, downplay, ignore, gaslight and finally, just brazen through it.

Politics has always been team sport, but now it’s the only thing that matters: My team good, no matter what they do. I’m glad Joe Biden won in 2020; I’m considerably less glad that he’s still trying to grind out bipartisan compromises over “should votes count” or “are immigrants people” or “should people still hurt by the pandemic have places to live.”

And although the GOP is going full fash as fast as it can, I’ll even toss in a lament for them too: Mitch McConnell would like nothing more than to make average people suffer in the name of corporate profits in peace and quiet. But he doesn’t have that choice; he has to act like Ted Cruz isn’t obviously repellant to all five senses. Moreover, his Asian wife, though insulated by being connected, rich and powerful, surely knows what happens to even the “good” minorities when backs start getting shoved up against the wall.

But Democrat or Republican, those are our only options now. There is no other choice, and that’s the way both parties want it. Why else would Shontel Brown be running against Nina Turner in Ohio this evening? Why would Jim Clyburn and Hillary Clinton come flying in off the top rope to support Brown? Simple, really: They want a reliable “yes” when it comes time to not make a big stink over letting Ohio discount any ballot from a town larger than 10,000 people.

And hey, if a couple of staffers get felt up, alas, that’s just part of the deal — gotta vote red/blue no matter who.

It’s only a problem if the other team is doing it, too.

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About Clever Name Here dba "Black Rod" 100 Articles
Vell, Clever Name Here just zis guy, you know? Sometimes funny. Often annoyed. Once I saw a blimp.

29 Comments

  1. Damned straight.  Am I glad that Joe won the general election?  Yes.  Did I vote for him?  No.  I voted for whatever sacrificial lamb was running with the Green Party because I refuse to be told who is an “acceptable” nominee–plus I live in a state that has voted for Democrats by double digits for decades.  On the other hand, did I vote for the “acceptable” nominee in the House race?  Yes, I did, because the outcome was not a foregone conclusion–mostly because the nominee was conservative enough to be relatively indistinguishable from the Republican which made the race unnecessarily close.  Still, it would be very nice if we could break the duopoly that the two parties 100% love and 100% will oppose any attempts to break up.

    • I will be writing more about this to come but the problem is that nobody is putting in the effort to do it, and with the increasing pressure to stay on your team, it only gets harder to do.

      The right would, but they already subsumed the GOP; the left has disadvantages it either can’t overcome or is too lazy to do; and then the other flavors have very few casual fans and only want to appeal to their already-deeply-committed followers, which is great for loyalty but a terrible path to electoral victory.

    • I used to vote for the Green Party candidate in “safe” elections, but Stein’s antics lately have been pretty off-putting, and I’m also annoyed at how the Greens keep running a presidential candidate, but don’t bother with any of the down-ballot races.

      • It’s extremely annoying and frustrating that the Green party doesn’t run downballot races, where they could actually stand a chance and maybe accomplish something. It’s almost like they’re a fake political party that exists only to make a statement and has no interest in actually holding office… 

      • Yeah, any party that only runs for the big job knowing a) it will never win and b) does zero real-world party building outside of that isn’t serious and isn’t worth my vote. Jill Stein has a real “but you agree with me!” problem — sure, I generally do (post-2016 antics aside), but even if you magically won via fraud/plague/act of Allah you wouldn’t be able to accomplish a damn thing because Congress wouldn’t lift their finger to goddamn thing for you and you ran maybe half a dozen candidates elsewhere.

        Admittedly, money is a major, major part of that lag, but at some point, there has to be a put up or shut up with the left, which eternally claims it has very popular policy yet can never get its act together to coalesce around anything.

  2. I was hoping someone besides me would bring up Emperor Andreus Marcus Maximus. I’ve loathed him for many years. I’m pretty sure he won’t resign (he considers himself the only Indispensable Person in all of New York State) and impeachment seems to be a little bit of a reach, because of all the favors requested and granted by him over his 11-year reign of terror. I pity the Democrat who primaries him, anyone who dares has my vote. I just hope his days are numbered, but I think that number will extend until we go to the ballot box.

  3. I’ll admit I didn’t know much about Cuomo until the pandemic brought him into the national spotlight. But I was instantly put off by him, while all the liberals (including many of my friends and family) were fawning over him. Once people started saying he should run for president (after Biden had already taken it!), I had to be like “PUMP THE BRAKES.” I didn’t know much about him at the time, but his attitude is extremely off-putting, offensive, and he clearly lives to be the center of attention. No thank you on politicians like that. The sexual harassment stuff was not shocking in the slightest. 

  4. We need to encourage more not straight, not white, not men to run for office (not that they can’t be problematic, required disclaimer). It’s more representative, for one. Less rapey, for two. 
     
    But SANE PEOPLE DON’T WANT to be congress people or governors. That’s a systemic issue. 

    • Yes, women are way less likely to be rapey. But I’ll take your disclaimer further: There’s Amy Klobuchar, who’s a rageaholic girlboss. You have Kamala Harris, who wouldn’t grope (I think?) but is just as centrist-brained as Cuomo is even though she comes from an actual progressive state. Pelosi’s pro-student debt (for her husband’s sake), Feinstein is out of her mind, Tulsi (JFC with that one) … bad policies usually require bad people to make them go, and representation isn’t necessarily going to fix that. It’s a good thing, and I’m in agreement I’d like to see a more representative sample* to run for office.

      * – yes racial minorities and women but way, way, WAY more: how about non-rich people, who are a giant majority but have nearly zero representation anywhere in any level of government.

       

      • Yeah, Feinstein has been terrible since the 80s.
         
        And there are exceptions to be had in every category. I didn’t vote for JB Pritzker in the IL governor primaries because he’s a billionaire (also the dem running against him sounded fine). But he got elected somehow. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised! Exceeded my expectations, in fact. Well, with the history of govs in IL, that’s not hard. But he appears to genuinely be a non garbage person.

        • It happens, and it’s doubly cool in Pritzker’s case because he seemed to be the centrist blah guy while Lori Lightfoot seemed more promising … and he’s done actual good things and she’s been awful on like every level. Similarly, Chuck Schumer is 700 years old and an eternal centrist Dem and yet is also light-years ahead of both Biden and Pelosi on progressive policy, and doesn’t shy away from saying so. It’s very odd! 

          But I also wouldn’t bank on a billionaire to understand what it’s like to live paycheck-to-paycheck or face housing insecurity or a thousand other issues that millions of people in America face. Biden got the stimmy done — great! — but I’m not entirely sure he understood how important that was to people because to him and 99.9% of lawmakers, that’s like a half-day paycheck and might as well be change in the couch.

          • Yeah I don’t live in the city limits so this isn’t as much my problem but I am wildly unimpressed with Lori Lightfoot. Rahm as least had the schmooze factor. 

      • I’m with you on most of this list, but I was under the impression that Kamala was actually reasonably progressive, at least according to her voting history. I was not super pleased about her “don’t come here” speech, but otherwise I’ve been relatively happy with her so far. 

        • She’s a former prosecutor so she’s got a lot of very ugly “tough on crime” votes in her past. She’s anti-health care. She’s openly anti-immigrant. She’s a biracial woman from California, which I think makes her seem wildly left-wing without her really being all that left. And this isn’t to completely knock her; she’s obviously not Mike Pence or whatever, but I suspect she’d be further right than even like Biden as president.

          • I feel like there has been a lot of effort put into “hit pieces” on Harris.  Quite a few of the criticisms made about her aren’t stuff she’s actually done.  Some of it was done by her office/administration, and while she isn’t completely absolved of responsibility, it’s nearly impossible to micromanage every level of a statewide AG office.   And a lot of these criticisms of Harris are a laundrylist that looks like it’s been copy/pasted from some internet forum or twitter thread or similar.  A lot of the incidents on those lists are somewhat obscure, and it would be nearly impossible to dig through enough information to find them, without gaining some familiarity with her more progressive policy decisions.
             
            While she was the San Francisco DA, she put in place policies to actually reduce crime and started programs to help keep non-violent offenders out of prison and help them with school and employment.  And the cops really didn’t like her…
             
            let me see if some of these links still work…
             
            https://medium.com/@blackwomenviews/debunking-the-lies-smears-and-distortions-about-kamala-harris-1718881a0ec3
             
            https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/give-kamala-harris-break/615127/
             
            https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2020/08/10/kamala-harris-progressive-pioneer-san-francisco-da-column/3334668001/
             
            https://www.politifact.com/article/2019/aug/01/were-tulsi-gabbards-attacks-kamala-harris-record-c/
             
             

            • There were a metric ton of hit pieces on Harris. Rooo used to write about this, but it was all very disproportionate and definitely impacted her public perception. 

              • I haven’t followed every detail diligently, but I’ve been pretty impressed by her, and low-key following her career since she first came to my notice about 10-12 years ago or so.
                She was pretty much my favored candidate for president, and I hope she gets a decent shot at the office in the future.
                Yeah, she’s not as far left as I may be, or as I may desire, but for all intents and purposes, she’s “left enough” – things will only move so far in so much time, and I don’t really think it matters too much if someone clears the bar by two inches or thirty feet or a half mile, if they clear the bar, that’s all that really matters here and now.
                And she’s been pretty awesome on all the committees and hearings and such she’s been involved in

          • Her history as a prosecutor is mixed, and was a huge attack point on her, but overall she made some good progressive changes as DA. I’m not saying her record is spotless on that account, but I think on balance she probably ended up with a record less bad than most prosecutors. Can you back up the openly anti immigrant/healthcare statements? In the primaries, she waffled on universal vs public option, which was a bad look, but I certainly haven’t gotten the impression that she’s anti universal healthcare if there’s enough support for it. I don’t expect her to spearhead it, but I don’t think she’s against it either… 

            • As to the healthcare bit, in the Democratic primary debates, she was one of only two candidates (I’m forgetting the other one right now…) who raised their hand in response to a question along the lines of (highly paraphrased): “who here would be willing to give up their current plan in favor of a public option”
              Frankly, a question like that doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, because of the old bit about “politicians lie” and all, but what struck me about it, was that it was such an easy “gimme” question, and almost no one went for it – at that level it’s not even a “campaign promise” or anything, it’s just a dumb primary debate question.

    • Generally true, though I do think there are exceptions that are there because they’re passionate about change, rather than it being about ego and money the way it is for most of them. I think it’s easier to see sane people who start in a local office, which is way less crazy, and then gradually get pushed into higher offices. 

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