Opinion | Cuomo? Oh, No! – The New York Times


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Gail Collins

Opinion Columnist
So, people, how would you feel about an Andrew Cuomo comeback?
Hey, get back here.
New York’s former governor has been in the news lately, running a TV ad that portrays him as a totally-not-guilty victim of “political attacks.” It reportedly cost him around $369,000. This from an old campaign fund that’s worth about $16 million. Can you imagine what it’ll be like if he antes up the rest? It’d make Burger King’s promotions seem like public service announcements.
Cuomo also recently made a sparsely attended speech to a Black church congregation in Brooklyn, decrying the “cancel culture” that had messed up his life. Not entirely clear what he meant. That he had to resign from being governor after that sexual harassment scandal? That almost nobody wants him to run for anything again? That his brother, Chris, lost his CNN job after giving advice to Andrew’s top aides?
Let’s deal with the Chris Cuomo issue first because it’s so very, very easy. He’d vowed, in his capacity as a news host, to keep clear of his brother’s battle to stay in office. But familial loyalty dragged him right in. At which point Andrew obviously should have drawn a line, forbidden anybody to talk with Chris behind the scenes. Told Baby Brother something like, “I love you, man — way too much to let you wreck your career just for me.”
Yeah, didn’t happen. OK, another easy question: Who out there thinks it would be a good idea for Andrew Cuomo to run for a fourth term as governor?
Tick … tick … tick. …
How about running for something else?
Tock … tock … tock. Wait, do I see a hand back there? City Council? Do you even know if he lives in the city? Cuomo’s official residence was the governor’s mansion for so long, he now seems to have no permanent dwelling place. Sort of like a little bat, flitting around into some mysterious recesses of the cave.
The current governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, who used to be Cuomo’s lieutenant, is what New York City residents rather snottily refer to as an upstater. She is one of the few chief executives in New York history with deep ties to Buffalo.
Which is the second-largest city in the state. How many of you knew that? OK, Buffalonians, stop jumping up and down.
And while we’re at it, guess who another prominent governor with ties to Buffalo was. Yes! Grover Cleveland. I am bringing this up only because I love to talk about him.
Grover was not what you’d call a Cuomoesque figure. He was pretty boring in public — a 300-pound former sheriff who once declared he deserved no credit for doing right because “I am never under any temptation to do wrong.”
But Cleveland did run into a sex scandal — he was accused by a newspaper in Buffalo (!!!) of having fathered a child by an unmarried salesgirl. We could argue for a very long time about whether this was true. I think not and would be happy to discuss it at length if we’re ever, say, stuck on a train in a tunnel for several hours. But either way, Grover spent a very painful period being referred to by headlines like “Moral Monster.” So, really, Andrew, stop complaining.
Unlike Cuomo, Grover did not claim all his problems stemmed from being “old-fashioned and out of touch” with rules about, um, touching the women who work in your office. He mostly stayed silent and sullen, which worked pretty well, given that he later got elected president twice.
Cuomo is good only at the sullen part.
We’ve got a lot of weird political stuff coming up, New Yorkers. I know you’ll find that a change of pace, given that we spent a good chunk of the Covid season debating whether or not Mayor Eric Adams really lived in New Jersey. (Asked about Cuomo’s speech in Brooklyn, by the way, Adams said: “I was not aware of it. I was busy moving around the city, enjoying all aspects of the city.”)
It’s gubernatorial election year, and the state Republicans just had a convention in which they backed a congressman from Long Island, Lee Zeldin, as their candidate to run against Hochul. But he’s apparently going to be primaried — by a couple of people you’ve never heard of and … Andrew Giuliani.
Rudy Giuliani’s 36-year-old son got less than 1 percent of the convention vote, but obviously that’s not keeping this family down.
“Screw the Republicans. A bunch of jerks,” said his dad, who decried the party’s failure to nominate a new generation Ronald Reagan “or a Trump, or a me.”
People, who would you prefer to see as the next governor of New York?
A. A Rudy or a Trump.
B. Fourth-term Andrew.
C. Someone from Buffalo.
Rudy has defended Cuomo, arguing that he was a victim of “conviction by press conference.” And you could certainly call Giuliani an expert witness, given the fact that while he was mayor, he had an affair with a woman for whom he provided a police chauffeur and then held a press conference to announce he was getting a divorce without having let his wife know in advance.
Just remember, things can always be worse on the governor front. We could have that guy from Florida who scolds kids who wear masks.
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