Publishing a celebratory book about his shambolic and deadly handling of the coronavirus is just about the most Andrew Cuomo thing ever.
His state, New York, has suffered far more deaths than any other, the economic devastation to the state as a whole and especially America’s biggest city have been crippling, and his authoritarian rule has been marked by capriciousness, failure, and at the very least the strong appearance of bigotry.
In his book, Cuomo waives away the decision made by his administration to compel nursing homes to take in patients infected with COVID even while other hospital options not only existed, but were being vastly expanded with help from President Trump. Cuomo wants us to believe that his failure is actually just some conservative conspiracy to smear him. But the facts as we know them, and his unwillingness to accept an investigation, make it perfectly clear that this is not the case.
Many, if not most, New Yorkers understand that New York was hit very hard and very fast by the virus, and that Cuomo was operating with a lot of bad information from China and the World Health Organization (WHO). Honestly, if he were simply to say, “Look, I got that one wrong, we got a lot right, but that was a mistake and I take responsibility for it,” people would likely accept that, but that is not his way. Instead, he spikes the football in hardback form and blames others for his mistakes.
Among those mistakes has been his almost religious fervor for lockdowns even in the face of changing science. At this point, even the WHO has reversed its position on lockdowns, finally accepting that the human and economic costs outweigh the benefit in limiting the spread of the virus, but not Cuomo. When he isn’t involved in pointless bickering with his lockdown loving Tweedledee Mayor Bill de Blasio, he is threatening and imposing even more lockdown measures.
This hit hone for me recently as my local bodega was fined $900 by the city for not imposing mask regulations firmly enough. The way I found out about it was that the owner and employees were telling people to put on a mask when they came in, which they had never previously done. Some customers wore them, some not, and this immigrant-owned family business that regularly offers credit to customers short on cash, was punished.
Meanwhile, the new lockdowns targeted by zip code are having a vastly disproportionate impact on Ultra-Orthodox Jews. Progressives tell us these days that any disparate impact on an ethnic group is by definition bigotry, but not in this case. Using shaky science, Cuomo and de Blasio claim that these Jews are acting irresponsibly and have brought the lockdowns on themselves. The governor saying, “this is not a nuanced, highly sophisticated response, this is a fear driven response.” The governor is out to scare some Jews.
This is a story of absolutely profound hubris, nursed by an adoring news media, that chose Cuomo as their anti-Trump. Remember when Cuomo was just about to replace Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket? Remember the Cuomosexuals who were so aroused by his competence and straightforwardness? That was probably right around the time the book deal got signed. It was all a show; it was all Cuomo preening for the cameras at his press conferences and on his brother’s cable news sitcom. Far from the cameras, his mistakes were leading to unneeded deaths.
Andrew Cuomo would be an excellent actor to play a tough-as-nails Italian New York governor, who rolls up his sleeves, pounds the table and gets things done. He’s right out of central casting. Unfortunately, in real life he is a man far more interested in his political prospects and his book sales than he is in working to protect the citizens of his state.
Cuomo should probably be hoping that Donald Trump wins the election and serves a second term. It is now, as it has been all along, the best chance he has to escape scrutiny for his poor choices and excessive use of power. Once he can no longer hide behind not being Donald Trump his junk is going to be hanging in the wind for all to see.
As states with reasonable governors like Florida and Georgia are open and recovering, New York stays mired in partial lockdown and is already doomed to suffer long-term economic damage. It did not have to be this way. And self-aggrandizing book or no self-aggrandizing book, it is very clear that most of New York’s woes are directly Andrew Cuomo’s fault.