Unfit to Lead

I don’t usually stick my nose into the politics of states other than my own but I wanted to bring this observation by Ross Barkan at Jacobin to your attention:

Andrew Cuomo, New York’s governor, has always embodied a dark irony of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Cuomo’s state has a higher death toll than anywhere else in America and his austerity-driven politics continue to cripple public institutions, he has won hysterical praise from many of the nation’s leading newspapers, magazines, and television shows. People have literally declared themselves “Cuomosexuals” and hawked his merchandise on Etsy. The inexplicable cult of worship, birthed at the height of the pandemic in New York last spring, has managed to linger on through the carnage.

Cuomo’s failure to contain the virus in the earliest weeks of the outbreak doomed New York to far more suffering than it needed to endure. Now, with a vaccine here, he is again proving his lack of fitness to lead New York through the worst crisis it has faced in modern history. For weeks, unused vaccine doses have sat in freezers, with some even being thrown out. After imposing extremely complex and rigid guidelines over who can receive a vaccine, Cuomo threatened health care providers with million-dollar fines if they didn’t follow the rules he had created for who can get a shot first.

When you exclude New York and New Jersey, the northeast of which is essentially a New York bedroom community, our stats on COVID-19 aren’t that much worse than those of the very best European countries and better than Italy or Spain. It’s New York’s and New Jersey’s high case count and large number of fatalities that drags U. S. stats down.

Our handling of COVID-19 is practically a microcosm of our policy problems. It’s too bad we’ll probably take all of the wrong lessons from the experience. Policy doesn’t help as much the advocates of government action tend to believe but it does have the ability to hurt a lot more than they will let themselves believe.

There are lots of things that could have been done in New York, e.g. shutting down the public transport systems as China did, but they weren’t done because of how difficult they would have made things. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

6 comments… add one
  • Andy Link

    For me it just goes back to the famous HL Mencken quote about democracy. The people of New York are adults and if that’s who they want as Governor, who am I to complain. But yes, I don’t understand why he gets such good press. For that matter, I don’t understand why loud-mouth, arrogant New Yorkers get that kind of following (see also: Donald Trump).

  • Yep.

    Or, as Mama Rose says in Gypsy “New York is the center of New York”.

  • PD Shaw Link

    There’s also another issue with the type of media coverage Cuomo gets at least on CNN:

    “I’m wowed by what you did, and more importantly, I’m wowed by how you did it. This was very hard. I know it’s not over. But obviously I love you as a brother, obviously I’ll never be objective, obviously I think you’re the best politician in the country. But I hope you feel good about what you did for your people because I know they appreciate it.”

  • The problems come when the prince starts to believe the courtiers.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    Twenty years ago NY was in love with Rudy.
    This too shall pass.

  • steve Link

    He only looked good in comparison to Trump. On his own not so much.


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