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Telling It Like It Is and Isn’t

September 27, 2010

Governor Paterson is getting positive reviews for his appearance on SNL. He’s said to have been a good sport who showed a sense of humor. We know we should agree. We know that with Paterson being a short-timer, we should just smile and, like everyone else, say: “Oh yes, wasn’t he funny.” But we can’t do it. We weren’t amused. This is a TV comedy show that demeaned Paterson countless times over the last two years. We can’t fathom why he would want to appear on the show and make fun of himself. At one point he said: “You’ve poked so much fun at me for being blind, I forgot I was black.” Everybody guffawed. But what kind of joke is that?  

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In any other year, there’d be no question about a Democratic candidate for governor endorsing a Democratic candidate for Attorney General. It’s called party unity. But the backdrop to Andrew Cuomo’s endorsement of Eric Schneiderman this weekend was much more complicated. Cuomo was behind Nassau DA Kathleen Rice. That’s how she was able to raise nearly six million dollars, twice as much as other candidates. Cuomo let it be known that he didn’t like Schneiderman and that his status as an ultra liberal, union-backed candidate would be a liability for the Dem ticket in the general election. Now Cuomo has a different view. With a sudden need to rally his base, Cuomo sees Schneiderman as extremely helpful. So the two men came together to heap praise on one another and pretend that they were always close friends. It was transactional politics at its best and most obvious.

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Here’s Eliot Spitzer suggesting that Andrew Cuomo is the “dirtiest and nastiest” of pols. And here’s Andrew Cuomo firing back in person, laughing at Spitzer’s downfall and harrumphing how his “record and integrity” were vastly superior to Spitzer’s. As a group that decries the lack of civility in politics, we know we should chastise both men for the intemperate exchange. But we had the opposite response. This wasn’t phony. These guys really hate each other. Spitzer thinks Cuomo undermined him. And Cuomo, well, he always had contempt for Spitzer because he was a spoiled rich kid who stood in his way.  Why shouldn’t they tell it like it is?    

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