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New York Politics and Removal of Democrats

What is it about New York political figures? Whatever it is, it is apparently limited only to Democrats in high positions.

First we had New York Governor and former state attorney general Eliot Spitzer being forced to resign in 2008, after it was learned that he had repeatedly visited and paid for encounters with a high-priced prostitution ring. There were also questions as to whether he had done something illegal with public funds to pay for these, but that was never resolved. There was enormous pressure for him to resign, and Republicans threatened to impeach him if he did not. So he did, and apologized for what he termed his failure to live up to potential in his career.

I do not really care what people do in their private life, as long as it does not involve violence or blatantly illegal activity. In this case, however, I could well understand that a governor and former attorney general whose job does involve prosecuting crime, which prostitution is, whether it should be or not, cannot do his job effectively if he is involved with it. There would be questions of favoritism, and of not being able to carry out the legal aspects of his job if he is consorting with high-paid prostitutes. So Spitzer resigned, and what looked like a very promising career is over.

Then we had Eric Schneiderman, who was Attorney General of New York. He had been formerly praised for his intensity in the pursuit of criminals. There were many stories that he was pursuing Donald Trump for various illegal actions in New York. Then suddenly there was a story in the New Yorker, in which there were allegations that he had engaged in “rough sex” with women, on occasions causing injury. The lead accuser was someone who had an 18 month or so relationship with him. Three other women came forward. Apparently he had a propensity for slapping women during sex. There was some question, particularly with regard to the lead accuser, as to whether this was consensual in general with them. The other women were mentioned in the story, though did not come forward to elaborate. There was no investigation, but the story itself caused Schneiderman to resign. He admitted to alcohol abuse, and accepted a one-year suspension from the state bar.

This was considered a victory for the Trump forces, which is not to say that whatever Schneiderman was accused of (there was no case ever filed) could only be seen in that light. He was replaced by Cyrus Vance, Jr. It has been stated in some quarters that Vance did not do much to follow up on any prosecution of Trump and his people, that he was essentially letting the statute of limitations run out.

Vance has recently been replaced as Attorney General by Letitia James, who has seemed more assiduous in her investigations of Trump. However, we now have the story of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was accused by a former high-level employee of making sexually inappropriate comments to her at work. Other women came forward, some accusing Cuomo of groping them. Republicans demanded that Cuomo resign, but he insisted on a full investigation, as he was entitled to. Today, James issued findings which stated that there were something like 173 incidents in which Cuomo is said to have groped women, and made inappropriate remarks to them. So undoubtedly, Cuomo will have to resign, he being the third extremely high-ranking Democratic official in New York who will do so.

It seems clear to me that there has been a plan by New York Republicans to get rid of Democratic officials; and particularly, that Trump and his forces, which undoubtedly include members of the mafia, are behind much of it. However, if the people in question did indeed do the things they were accused of, they would have to resign on their own demerit, independent of who was behind this. It does seem to almost always happen to Democrats though; we saw Senator Franken forced to resign; and we saw Governor Gray Davis of California (who was not accused of any sexual improprieties, just unfairly blamed for high energy prices) get recalled, and replaced by Schwarzenegger, and now we have a recall against Governor Newsom. These are not isolated or completely unrelated incidents, they are part of a plan.

And the plan almost always works, as Democrats who are accused, resign; and Republicans almost never do. Jim Jordan, who apparently saw male gymnastics coaches sexually abuse boys, and never reported it, is still thriving, with Trump’s help. Trump himself has avoided any effective punishment, even though there are over twenty separate cases involving accusations of unwanted physical contact, and even rape. Nothing is done, he denies all of it; his supposedly puritanical supporters pass it all off as lies, liberal plots, hoaxes.

Now, this, while true, cannot save Cuomo. You cannot grope women at work. As to what you say, that is a more opaque area, as things can be taken out of context, or be subject to enhancement, for various reasons. Outside of absolutely blatantly racist or sexually provocative statements, I would be inclined to let most of that alone, because you can get almost anyone fired, for whatever reason or stimulus you might have. But groping, particularly repeated, and beyond the bounds of “Well, I may have brushed against her, or given her a kiss,” cannot be passed over. And some would certainly want to fire someone for even the brushing or the kiss. That is a very interesting issue which seems to be going in the direction of, any statement or unwanted remark or touching of any kind, is unacceptable, and you should be fired. But these allegations against Cuomo are more than that.

So Cuomo will resign. There will be an election for governor; and we absolutely know that Trump and his band are fixated on getting in one of two Republican candidates who would be very favorable to him, and would certainly stop all investigations of him, which would mean the end of all of this, and Trump going free again, to wreak his depredations on the country, as he certainly will do.

I would not want to try to defend Cuomo, but I think he has been a good governor, and he was brave and determined in the worst days of the Covid crisis; he was really the only beacon of hope at that time, in the dark days when Trump dominated the airwaves, put quacks and pandemic deniers in charge; and continued his assault on democracy, which culminated, only so far, in the violent insurrection as part of the plan to overthrow the Biden election, and keep Trump in dictatorial power. We are now learning even more about the horror of what Trump was trying to do, both with the state officials, and then of course the assassination of many in the Congress, including the people next in line for the presidency.

Put in the context of what Cuomo is alleged to have done (it is still “alleged,” of course, that is how our legal system works), it does not seem in any way comparable. But of course you cannot be governor if there are all these allegations of sexual misconduct against you–at least you cannot if you are a Democrat. So we will see Cuomo resign, and his career will be over; and we will see if New York has a new governor who is still interested in prosecuting Trump. And if there is, he or she had better be extremely careful that there is not the slightest character flaw which would lead to him or her being removed. Republicans never sleep, and they live for this kind of thing.

Addendum: Well, Cuomo is apparently not resigning just yet. One sort of has to give him credit for not giving in, which of course is how Republicans always respond to this kind of thing. But all he will do is get himself impeached, and give more fodder to dreadful people like Elise Stefanik, and possibly give Republicans more of a chance to win the governorship. It is just a shame to see his rather admirable political career end like this, but he is responsible for his actions during his tenure.

2 Responses

  1. Something which may be completely irrelevant to this, but at least worth noting, is to ask, Where are Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh in their careers? They are both on the Supreme Court, essentially making laws, overturning others; all greatly affecting the lives of everyone, and even the fate of what we always thought was a democracy, but which is now at great risk.

    Did anyone read the recent story in which Senators Whitehouse and Coons reviewed the over 4,500 complaints sent to the FBI about Kavanaugh, during his hearings, which the FBI then somehow sent directly to Trump, where of course they were completely ignored. Apparently FBI Director Wray was responsible for this decision, and I think it is time to fire him, this is completely unacceptable. Kavanaugh was put in there to fulfill a Federalist Society dream of control of the country; and nothing that Kavanaugh did in his life, or any debts he owed, was going to stand in their way; and sure enough, there he is, on the Supreme Court for forty years or so. So while Cuomo deserves to be strongly criticized, if we indeed assume that at least some of the allegations are true, we see once again the double standard for Democrats and Republicans. And where is the brave and suffering Christine Blasey Ford, after Republicans slandered her on an hourly basis?

    • Thank you. The Democrats must be more pure than driven snow, but Republicans can do anything no matter how vile and no one suggests they resign.

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