Kicked me like you kicked before
I can't even feel the pain no more.
As much as we'd like to put the lamentable events of last week's Election Day behind us, we'd be remiss if we didn't have a word about our Governor Re-Elect. Andrew Cuomo's victory was decidedly unemphatic.
The Buffalo News said that Cuomo's vote total may be the lowest for the winner of a governor's race in New York since Franklin Roosevelt in 1930. [Democrat & Chronicle]His 54% share of the ballots cast by the measly turnout was eight points lower than in 2010; nine points below that of his father's re-election total. Amazingly, Cuomo lost in 46 of the 57 counties outside of New York City; and that to a bland and vastly outspent candidate, on the defensive throughout, with cookie-cutter conservative views that are clearly out of line with the demographics of the state. It's fair to wonder just how close the race could have been with the Republicans had a more polished and credible candidate.
Democrats of the more liberal persuasion, who already felt betrayed by the governor's active facilitation of the arrangement in the Senate that allowed the minority Republicans to cling to power and block passage of measures dear to their hearts, are left battered by that party's ascension to what is now an uncontested majority in the chamber. This governor, who agreed to work enthusiastically for a Democratic majority in exchange for the support of the Working Families Party, did absolutely nothing of the sort. He made exactly one personal appearance on behalf of one candidate, and was less than effusive and expansive with his words. His other "endorsements" came via statements released - over a weekend! - while he was traveling in Puerto Rico; an action so cynically half-hearted that, like Steve Berman said on that Enimem record, "It would be better if you gave me nothing at all."
Now, given Cuomo's poor showing outside of NYC - including, specifically, the counties in which the three upstate candidates he "endorsed" were running - one surely can't say whether more full-throated endorsements would have turned the tide for the Democrats. However, the governor made passage of all ten planks of the Women's Equality Act as the central theme of his campaign, even creating the Women's Equality Party in the process. (Some felt that his emphasis on the latter party was attempted payback to the similarly-acronymed Working Families Party for cornering him as they did; but the latter attracted well more than enough votes to keep its ballot line, though it will drop a notch below the Green Party.) Cuomo surely was well aware that the only hope of passing the Women's Equality Act in its entirety was to have the Democrats control the Senate. But we never heard him make that exhortation on the campaign trail. "Let me be clear - you must turn out and vote for [Democratic Senate candidate] if we want to achieve full equality for women!"
We never heard anything like that. Perhaps - just maybe (or maybe not) - that could have made a difference in SD-46, which elected Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk in 2012; or in SD-3 in Suffolk County, where Cuomo and Astorino ran neck and neck. He broke his promise to the WFP, and by not working energetically (if much at all) towards a Democratic Senate, he was, in fact, dooming the law to failure. To me, that renders his entire campaign - especially those feel-good ads with his girlfriend and daughters - as being insincere and hypocritical. Instead, he can now continue to talk about "working with Democrats and Republicans," and maintain the kind of centrist approach that is conducive to national politics; that at the expense of progressive causes which will now have to wait.
And, as a result and perhaps worst of all, we'll now have to spend the next two years looking at the empty smiles of Dean Skelos, the poster boy for the term "empty suit." A man who has not uttered a single substantive sentence during his time as the GOP Senate Leader, Skelos has shown that he will stoop to any measure necessary simply to retain the perks of the majority party, even selling out his party's base in order to appease the governor when he deems it absolutely necessary to maintain his own standing.