What the Andrew Cuomo Saga Tells Us About the Shallowness of Modern Politics

Now, Trump is out of the White Home and as for Cuomo … Rattling it, the place is that jerk file? Please inform me I wasn’t so dumb to simply throw it away.

There aren’t many instances that extra vividly seize perceptions of a public determine swerving so abruptly over such a short while. Removed from being a masterful coronavirus disaster supervisor, Cuomo’s administration is beneath investigation for alleged manipulation of statistics on nursing dwelling deaths. Removed from being rough-edged however benevolent Uncle Andrew, he stands accused of sexually harassing a lot youthful girls who labored for him.

There’s a fuzzy philosophical level in the Cuomo story about the vagaries of fame and vicissitudes of popularity. The ball does certainly take humorous bounces.


However perhaps don’t let your self off the hook so simply. The sharper and extra particular level is that each phases of the Cuomo psychodrama — and particularly the OMG-I’m-crushing-on-Andrew section — replicate the fatuousness of fashionable political tradition.

Have been you one of those that, like Ellen DeGeneres last spring, declared your self “a Cuomosexual”? Do you now presumably be a part of her in cringing at his reply, saying of the infatuation with him: “Yeah, I feel that’s a great factor. I don’t suppose it’s a foul factor.”

“It’s not a foul factor,” she agreed. “Individuals are in love with you.”

An emphasis on the stylistic dimensions of management, mixed with a bent to view politics as a nonstop morality story, is hardly a brand new phenomenon. But it surely has change into an exaggerated one in the media-saturated Trump period. And few folks show the hazards of this model of politics higher than Cuomo.

On narrowly political grounds, it’s dangerous for a Democrat to encourage, as Cuomo did final spring, a cult of character. Regardless of occasional swoons, progressives simply aren’t inclined to assist this in a sustained means, in marked distinction to Trump partisans. Some commentators have cried hypocrisy as a result of there should not extra speedy widespread requires Cuomo to resign in the face of allegations of inappropriate conduct towards girls. In actual fact, Cuomo is hanging on tenuously, at greatest. He spoke deferentially of the girls who accused him, and few Democrats are defending him; Trump responds contemptuously towards harassment allegations in opposition to him (and all different allegations) and faces no penalty from his zealous supporters.

Extra importantly, personality-based politics of the type that buoyed Cuomo and now threatens to sink him are more and more out of step with the issues of the age.

Cuomo’s father, fellow Gov. Mario Cuomo, famously mentioned that leaders marketing campaign in poetry and govern in prose. Inspiration and public persuasion, of course, all the time have an indispensable position in efficient management. However coronavirus has some related traits with many of the points dealing with the present and subsequent technology of public officers, in that credible cures are extra compellingly described in prosaic slightly than lyrical phrases.

The pandemic is like the downside of local weather change or enlightened regulation of expertise in that each one contain clever reconciling of authentic but competing values in a rational means. Being a photogenic, unstable, publicity-loving egotist who quarrels continually with different politicians and berates them on the telephone isn’t incompatible with this method. But it surely doesn’t a lot assist the trigger.

Even the up section of Cuomo’s superstar cycle was solely tangentially linked to the central query: Was he truly an efficient administrator in responding to an sudden well being disaster? Cuomo aggressively used his formal energy and public platform in Albany to attempt to cease the unfold of the illness. At the similar time, in the early days of the pandemic, he dismissed requires lockdowns and warned in opposition to pointless panic. New York is second, after New Jersey, in deaths per capita, which highlights the undeniable fact that these densely populated states had been hit early in ways in which governors probably may solely have an effect on at the margins.

All this was evident final spring.

However a fragmentary, blended report was sufficient for folks like actress Mia Farrow, who tweeted, “If solely Gov Andrew Cuomo had been the president now. #LeadershipMatters.” Comic Chelsea Handler added, “I’m formally drawn to Andrew Cuomo. Can we simply let him take over for the nation? Wouldn’t that be bipartisan? Let’s try this!”

Ben Smith at the New York Times wrote a column headlined, “Andrew Cuomo Is the Management Freak We Want Proper Now.”


Proper now didn’t final for lengthy. It turned out the Cuomo was not a lot in management as he or others assumed — not of the pandemic, nor of the giddy peaks and sudden plummets of his personal public picture.

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