Hello my beautiful babies. I hope you had a great weekend, and that you eventually find some time over the next few weeks to actually change the clocks on your stove. Or you could just leave them alone until we turn the clocks back in the Fall. No judgy.
If you are not from the great State of Colorado, you should know that we got our fourth largest snowstorm in history this past weekend. So, naturally I am sort of cooped up here, thinking about Andrew Cuomo. The cascade of stories have just been unbelievable: Earlier in the week, a sixth woman came forward and said he groped her. An alarming piece from Brian Rosenthal came out in the New York Times:
In interviews over the past week, more than 35 people who have worked in Mr. Cuomo’s executive chamber described the office as deeply chaotic, unprofessional and toxic, especially for young women. It is a workplace, the current and former employees said, where tasks are assigned not based on job titles, but on who is liked by Mr. Cuomo and his top aides. Those interviewed described an environment where the senior executive staff regularly deride junior workers, test their dedication to the governor and make them compete to earn his affection and avoid his wrath.
Jessica Bakeman published her own account on March 12th:
Andrew Cuomo’s hands had been on my body — on my arms, my shoulders, the small of my back, my waist — often enough by late 2014 that I didn’t want to go to the holiday party he was hosting for the Albany press corps at the executive mansion.
And, if I could summarize the culture of Albany in one paragraph, it would be this one:
Though the multiple scandals erupting in Albany seem to toggle between sexualized harassment stories and evidence of mismanagement, what is emerging is in fact a single story: That through years of ruthless tactics, deployed both within his office and against anyone he perceived as an adversary, critic, or competitor for authority, Cuomo has fostered a culture that supported harassment, cruelty, and deception. And while some have continued to defend Cuomo’s commitment to “creating the perception of strength,” and his mastery of “brutalist political theater” (as Mayor de Blasio’s former spokesman told the New York Times last month), his tough-guy routine has in fact worked to obscure governing failures; it is precisely what has permitted Cuomo and his administration to spend a decade being, to borrow Wertheimer’s assessment, both mean and bad at their jobs. As one former Cuomo staffer told me, “The same attitude that emboldens you to target a 25-year-old also emboldens you to scrub a nursing-home report.”
The crucial New York Times piece from Saturday:
Be it his self-regard, his disdain for fellow Democrats or his imperious demeanor, Mr. Cuomo alienated allies and enemies alike on his way up in politics, and now finds himself sliding from hero-level worship to pariah-like status with the kind of astonishing speed that only the friendless suffer. It is a downfall foretold in a decade-long reign of ruthlessness and governance by brute force, according to interviews with more than two dozen lawmakers, elected officials, current and past Cuomo administration officials, political activists and strategists in the state.
And here is where the bow goes on the entire thing, and how this - like everything else with Cuomo - goes from being a scandal about X to also being a scandal about corruption:
New York’s “vaccine czar” — a longtime adviser to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — phoned county officials in the past two weeks in attempts to gauge their loyalty to the embattled governor amid an ongoing sexual harassment investigation, according to multiple officials.
One Democratic county executive was so unsettled by the outreach from Larry Schwartz, head of the state’s vaccine rollout, that the executive on Friday filed notice of an impending ethics complaint with the public integrity unit of the state attorney general’s office, the official told The Washington Post. The executive feared the county’s vaccine supply could suffer if Schwartz was not pleased with the executive’s response to his questions about support of the governor (my emphasis).
Obviously, the entire swarm feels like Cuomo to me, but the last one - where Cuomo’s grunts are possibly dangling vaccines if public officials play ball - is the one that really feels the most at home.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two things about L’Affaire Cuomo:
On Friday, the majority of the Democratic Caucus in New York came out and said he should resign. That included Chuck Schumer, AOC, and Jerry Nadler. Add that to the growing number of New York Democrats in Albany who are saying something similar, and it’s looking obvious that Democrats are a lot less silent than Republicans when it comes to sexual harassment, especially when it’s about He Who Must Not Be Named. Tim Miller made this point in a recent piece.
A lot of the stories on Cuomo are being broken by CNN, New York Magazine, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. It’s always interesting that conservatives will say these sources are fake news when the “news” is inconvenient for them, but are happy to cite to them now.
Moving on to the should-reads of the week, I think this piece from Greg Sargent is really important. And while he is mostly writing about how Republicans in office do not cater to their constituents, I think recent GOP attempts to limit voting are directly related. Following the election, the pro-Trump GOP quietly stopped talking about election fraud in public and instead shifted to passing bills making it more difficult to vote. In some places, this will make it even harder for Republicans to get to the polls. For example, in Florida the mail-in voting options actually led to increased Republican turnout. And there is a connection between the GOP being essentially unable to win elections running on their ideological roots or without trying to keep people from voting.
Zack Beauchamp (the best writer at Vox, in my opinion) has a good piece on how the suburban voter has changed, and is more open to be redistributive legislation.
Perhaps you saw Trump’s press release last week, in which he said he “hoped” everyone remembered who got them the vaccine. Kate Riga and Josh Kovensky lay out why Trump shouldn’t get credit for vaccine distribution.
A Johns Hopkins study found that Republican states fared worse than Democratic states when it came to handling COVID-19 deaths after July of 2020. It’s an interesting read, but I do wonder how much places like South Dakota, for instance, are warping the numbers, given that it had the highest COVID-19 death rate in the world at one point.
You’ve probably seen this by now, but Yo-Yo Ma is a treasure.
Folks, that is it for me for today, but not for the whole week. I’ll be writing a long piece that is related to this Business Insider article. I’m attaching a few pictures of the Denver snowfall, which was pretty impressive. But what’s even more impressive is that it finished snowing late on Sunday night, and a huge chunk of the snow has already melted thanks to the Denver sunshine. Hurry up, Spring.