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Same old, same old in New York politics – Daily Freeman


As a twin, I always worried about being held responsible for what my brother had done.

Andrew and Christopher aren’t twins, of course, but lately I have been thinking about the two of them. I have been interviewing and writing about the Cuomos for some time now. I truly get it. Mario Cuomo, the papa, was a staunch defender of his kids, no matter what they might have done. If you are a parent, you can certainly relate.

You come near our kids and we all turn into Mighty Mouse or Popeye after he downs a couple of cans of spinach. As one of the reigning experts on Cuomo-speak (if I do say so myself), I came to understand that the last thing you ever wanted to do was to even whisper something negative about any of his kids. You would do so at your own peril. I can understand that and even respect it a little.

On the other hand, if the boys are bullies and you are on the losing side, you will not like it.

We know all about political dynasties like the Kennedys, the Bushes and the Cuomos. In politics, people acquire power and once they have it, they do everything in their power to keep it. It’s like the business tycoons. Once you’re on top, you don’t want anyone mucking with your success.

So now it appears that Andrew Cuomo is a making a sort of comeback when it comes to what we might call Cuomo defensiveness. For a while, Andrew was getting a lot of heat for alleged sexual misbehavior and other stuff but now things have quieted down a lot. Andrew’s political aspirations seem to be on the back shelf.

New York, once Cuomo Land, has fallen to a new crowd and, I have to say, things seem to have become somewhat boring.

Then there’s Christopher. He was suspended and later fired by CNN after reports surfaced that he assisted in the defense against the sexual harassment allegations that led to his brother’s resignation. Well, now he has a new nightly program on cable television’s NewsNation.

I suspect you had better keep your eyes on both of the Cuomo brothers because these are not the kind of political folks who wish to go quietly into the night. Plus, my sense is that people like them. In American politics, you stick with what you know and what you are used to. Let’s face it — we all know the Cuomos.

We know that they can be tough when they need to be, and as I’ve said many times, Andrew is one tough guy.

The current governor, Kathy Hochul, is quietly keeping out of trouble.

Of course, like all politicians she needs money and she will get it the old-fashioned way by making friends and incurring obligations. That’s how it’s done. If anyone thinks that obligations are not incurred as part of the political process, you had better go back and review your notes from Political Science 101.

Nothing has really changed in the way things work in Albany.

If you take money for delivering political favors and if that process involves an understood quid pro quo, well, that’s just the way the game is played. As Jesse Unruh, a once powerful California politician, said, “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.” Hey, you need TV ads and pollsters and people to get the word out if you are going to go anywhere in politics. Like baseball, you start out in the minors and fight like hell to make it to the bigs.

The problem for so many politicians is that people are wise to it all and sick and tired of the same old game. It’s tough to admire anyone. Where are the political heroes?

Or as the song goes, “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?”

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at alan@wamc.org.



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