Cuomo Is Leading Charge In The Wrong Direction

One quote — that’s the subject of this editorial. That may seem a little hyper-focused, but because the quote is so packed with lies and hypocrisy, and because is was an official statement on behalf of our New York governor, it requires a vigorous rebuttal.

The quote came from Abbey Fashouer, spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign, for a New York Post story published Wednesday. She was responding to a proposal by Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro to ban political donations from anyone who is seeking or already holds a state contract.

Molinaro and other challengers have been accusing the Cuomo administration of corruption, especially in light of recent events. In a jury trial in March, one of Cuomo’s closest aides and friends, Joe Percoco, was found guilty of taking bribes from business people who wanted state contracts or grants in return. Others are set to face trial next month on federal bid-rigging charges related to Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” economic development program.

Molinaro’s proposal, at first glance, seems sensible. On the other hand, we can see how wily players might find ways around it, so there could be room for someone to criticize the idea as naive or simplistic. But that is light years away from what Team Cuomo did.

Fashouer said this, according to the Post:

“It’s clear Trump mini-me Marc Molinaro who has an ‘A’ rating from the NRA and is the NY GOP’s handpicked anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ candidate is desperately trying to deflect from the sad state of his campaign. No contribution of any size influences any government action — period.”

That floored us.

Let’s unpack it, first sentence first: Lacking an intelligent answer with which to answer the question directly, Fashouer brings up all kinds of other nonsense. She deflects — while accusing Molinaro of “desperately trying to deflect.” “Trump mini-me” is both a Trumpian nickname and a false one. Molinaro, while a member of the same party as Trump, did not vote for the man, does not take the same positions as the president and behaves nothing at all like him — yet Cuomo, with name-calling like this, acts more like Trump all the time.

Fashouer also called Molinaro “anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ” without saying the policy issues she was referring to (abortion, presumably, on the first, but the others?). Can we please debate real issues without saying one’s opponent is “anti” massive swaths of the populace? More and more these days, Cuomo describes people who don’t agree with him as enemies one must despise rather than neighbors one must live with. He needs to spend some time living in a small town, where people constantly have to see and talk to people with whom they disagree.

But the second sentence of Fashouer’s quote is the scary one: “No contribution of any size influences any government action — period.” That’s just a bold-faced lie, a statement the speaker can’t help but know is false, one everyone knows is false, one that’s been proven false in court among New York politicians time and again. Cuomo himself has publicly ranted to the heavens about the state Capitol’s pay-to-play culture and has proposed ethics law remedies, when it suited him.

It’s a cynical lie, like Cuomo is taking us for suckers. It’s dangerous, since it shows he and others like him are getting bolder.

He may as well have said, in response to an opioid drug bill, “No heroin, at any dosage, has ever hurt anyone — period.”

That would lead people to believe he was covered for that illegal industry, right?

We don’t remember Cuomo being this bad before, but then again, he didn’t have stiff competition in an election. It apparently brings out the worst in him — at least we hope this is the worst.

If you care about civil, honest, political dialogue in New York state, Andrew Cuomo is leading the charge in the opposite direction. If you care about healing the political rift that keeps people from talking to each other in New York state — see the recent gridlock in the state Senate — Cuomo is trying to drive the wedge deeper in a misguided hope that voters hate the other (party, race, culture, what have you) more than they love their country, state and community.

We’re sick of selfish, tribal, cynical politics. Government is supposed to help everyone live together as harmoniously as possible. A politician who has trust, ethics, morals and listening skills would be refreshing.

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