Politics Monday: Why We Broke Up With Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, once the star of the pandemic and a strong contender for the White House, is now embroiled in two scandals — a underreporting of nursing home deaths and two allegations of sexual harassment — that have him in political jeopardy. Not only that: SNL added insult to injury by replacing Trump with Cuomo on the cold open a couple of weeks back. Serious kudos to Pete Davidson.

Like in any breakup, it wasn’t him: it was us. Until, it WAS him.

We needed him then

Compared to the lackluster spin of the White House’s communications about the coronavirus, Cuomo’s forthright, real-word, daily briefings were a sorely needed breath of fresh air. Lots of us tuned in to sit at his knee as he explained the new awful reality to us, and to tell us how, if we did certain things, we’d get through it. As a NYS retiree, I was downright giddy that the rest of the country was fawning over my boy Andrew. This is leadership, I wrote, and the pundits agreed.

Coupled with flashes of humor, tales about his family and his nightly visits on CNN with brother Chris, the governor’s daily reports won him a level of trust that placed him second only to Anthony S. Fauci.

Jeff Greenberg of Politico writing in The Washington Post

We all chose to overlook his bulldozer personality and zero-sum approach to power, as Shane Goldmacher wrote in a 2018 piece in The New York Times. Andrew Cuomo was who we needed.

We grew tired of him

But we grew restless and impatient with sitting and listening. We tired of the same answers. We began to think about moving on.

Then, barely six months into the pandemic, Cuomo published a book about his strategy, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, taking a victory lap way too early. No one likes a braggart, least of all political enemies.

We’ve had too many “mission accomplished” moments.

Rebecca Katz, a New York City-based Democratic strategist who ran a primary challenge against Cuomo in 2018, in a reference to former President George W. Bush’s boast days after the conquest of Iraq.

We found someone new

In November, we voted in a new national boyfriend. Joe Biden was the real deal, a soother-in-chief who also told it like it was. On January 20, Joe moved in. We are relieved to be alive, being led by a mensch, and looking ahead once again.

but the rest is all on him

The number of nursing home deaths turned out to be double what the governor stated, and, rather than admit the error, Cuomo spun for weeks. When he finally admitted the truth, it poured oil on the fire of his political foes, and suddenly the man who was given super pandemic powers is under Federal investigation.

Political aggressiveness swells the male ego. As of this writing, there are two sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo by former gubernatorial aides. And he’s still trying to control the narrative.

The nursing homes story really exposed quite a bit about questions about his leadership style and the success of his leadership during COVID.

Christina Greer, a political science professor at Fordham

If you’re not careful, the same crisis that can raise your stock can just as easily bring you down.

Nicholas Riccardi and Martina Villeneuve, The New York Times

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