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Winter Blues

February 16, 2015

We’ve been low of late. Maybe it’s the unending winter. Or maybe it’s that our vision of how things ought to be in Albany is hopeless.

We dream of government that’s practical and focused. Forget about superlatives. We just want basic competence – defined as sound fiscal management, something resembling openness, a decent debate on relevant issues and incremental progress.

But you can’t have any of that with jags, diversions and manias. And you can’t have that with leaders who are “off.”

The jag now is corruption. We’ve written a lot about it and can’t write any more, except to note that it must be a big part of the reason our leaders are so “off.”

Take the governor. We were encouraged when he proposed his 63 ideas in the SOS. Many of his ideas were doable, and if there was any kind of follow through, it would have produced the incremental progress and maybe a bit more.

But the Governor is way, way “off” now. He has forgotten about his policy agenda. He says ethical reform is the single most important and difficult issue facing government. The only problem with that is that it’s not. And the great polltaker knows that’s the case. He knows it doesn’t even register as a top concern of ordinary people, but there he is insisting that we have to make the budget late to get it done.

Huh? Make the budget late? Where did that idea come from? Was it in one of his strategy sessions with Joanie Mahoney? Don’t get us wrong here. We’re not suggesting anything untoward, we’re just saying that if the Governor is getting his policy direction from this nice woman who is an upstate Republican County Executive, we’re in trouble.

Does Hillary Clinton consult with Jim Tedisco on political strategy? Does Bill De Blasio need Cathy Young to figure out what to do next?

What is it with Cuomo? Why must he always diss the Dems and play footsie with Republicans? He’s now hired Mahoney’s chief of staff to work in a senior capacity in his office. Last week, he brought Jim Maguire, Pataki’s former counsel, into his office for “consultation.” His closest lobbyist friend is Mike McKeon.

The degree to which Cuomo is “off” is making us depressed. We saw him this weekend at the caucus. He didn’t speak for four minutes as reported. It was more like two and a half. And most of it was bragging about closing prisons.

Think about that one. There’s a group of black folks in front of you. What are you gonna talk to them about?  Oh, of course, it’s closing prisons. “Y’all know my daddy built prisons, but I closed ‘em down!”

We were standing there thinking: What would Dave Chappelle do with this? “Terrorists never take black people as hostages…white people are the best people to smoke weed with… and Italian pols love to talk about closing prisons in front of black people, but do they ever do it in front of white people…Hell, nooooo!”

Serious questions now. What is it with Cuomo? The Preet thing got him off his game? The death of the father left him without a compass? The new staff hasn’t jelled yet?  The new biography coming out – written by someone who is close to the Kennedy family – got him unnerved?

Who knows what it is. Maybe it’s all of the above. Whatever it is, he’s got to snap out of it.

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