Michael Goodwin, Fred LeBrun and Fred Dicker – if you follow them, you know that they really don’t hold the Governor and other state leaders in high regard right now. In fact, for weeks, this trio of leading commentators has been writing with complete disdain for Albany. And what they are saying, for the most part, is logical, well argued and, as it pertains to Cuomo, appropriate, if you believe in karma.
Cuomo has been getting kicked around in the media of late. His polls numbers are plummeting. And nobody feels sorry for him.
And yet, we’d make a distinction about Cuomo and some other people. While they have certainly contributed to their own problems, they don’t entirely deserve what’s happening to them.
Deserve – that’s a helluva concept. You might say of someone who is a mean and nasty person that they deserve a comeuppance. You might say of someone who acts with really bad judgment and gets into trouble that they deserve it. But when you use the word, you include an element of proportionality, right?
In this regard, think about Joyce Mitchell. No church lady is she. Her life story? More than a little messed up. But does she really deserve all the opprobrium?
Does she deserve to be called a “skank” on the front page of the tabs? Are all of these tales being told about her real? And even if they’re real, how much did she really have to do with the prison break? Before you make a final judgment on that, read Brendan Lyons’ brilliant piece in the Sunday Times Union. It describes the real factors in the breakout.
Yes, of course, Mitchell has no one to blame but herself for the trouble she’s in, but does she deserve to have her son dragged into it, too? What has the young man, who is serving in the Air Force, done to be included in the ridicule?
Back to Cuomo. Maybe it’s karma that he’s being blamed for everything wrong about state government. Think of all the times that Cuomo has manipulated things. Think of the banana peels he’s dropped for others over the years. Think of how he and his people act now when anyone disagrees with them. Now there’s a study in proportionality, or the lack of it, for you.
All that said, is Cuomo to blame for Skelos? For Silver? Both of these cases involve their private dealings and had nothing to do with Cuomo, right?
Both legislative houses have now been destabilized as a result of the toppling of their leaders and power still hasn’t been consolidated in either house and there’s no ability to work out compromises and this session will probably be a major bust. But is it Cuomo’s fault?
There are lots of areas under Cuomo’s direct control where we might legitimately blame him when something goes wrong.
The state budget? Best shape in decades.
The state agencies? Up until this moment with DOCS, there really hasn’t been a colossal fuckup. But per the Lyons article and as a result of Cuomo’s rush to be Mr. Take Charge, he now owns Dannemora. (And there’s a bad joke going around. It’s said that Cuomo planned the whole thing. It’s his way of promoting the NYS film industry with a blockbuster made-for-TV movie filmed on location, in, you guessed it, upstate New York.)
The state economy? Not stellar, especially upstate, but each year it improves.
Education? It never was the disaster the advocates claimed it was, but he did mess it up with his “war on teachers.” This weekend’s distressed districts announcement would appear to be an attempt to sue for peace.
The environment? Cleaner, according to recent air and water reports.
What does it all add up to? Despite all the off-putting ways, despite the recent weirdness, Cuomo really hasn’t been that bad of a governor. He, therefore, doesn’t deserve the extent of the criticism now being leveled at him by Goodwin, LeBrun, Dicker and others.
We say this knowing nobody – not the Governor nor the hapless lady from Dannemora – deserves anything. It’s a concept we wish could apply, but rarely does.