Whatever one’s opinion of Andrew Cuomo, we can all agree he’s had an eventful year.
As governor of New York, Cuomo was at the forefront of America’s public reckoning with the COVID-19 pandemic. He was the first politician since Ross Perot to become a global celebrity and sex symbol by giving PowerPoint presentations. He wrote a book about his leadership prowess, then accepted an International Emmy Award as new cases of the virus surged to record levels. Through it all, he still found time to sexually harass his female subordinates.
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More than 12,000 New Yorkers have died since October 13, when American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic hit bookshelves. Cuomo is no longer the #Resistance rock star he was in the early days and weeks of the pandemic, when thousands of nursing home patients were dying on his watch, and his administration was deliberately hiding the data to avoid negative press.
The extent to which the “Butcher of Albany” was slavishly deified in the media cannot be overstated. The thirst, as the saying goes, was real. As it turned out, avoiding negative press coverage was rather easy, given the circumstances. In the eyes of professional journalists and other psychopaths incapable of merely liking a politician, Cuomo was a certified PILF. They gave him a variety of sexually charged nicknames—the “Luv Guv,” among others—that ring differently in light of the sexual harassment allegations.
The most significant difference between then and now? Donald Trump is no longer president. Cuomomania never would have happened otherwise. Molly Jong-Fast, author of the Vogue piece “Why We Are Crushing on Andrew Cuomo Right Now,” recently admitted as much. For what it’s worth, she was also a fan of #Resistance porn lawyer Michael Avenatti and an unpaid adviser to the Lincoln Project. Being the “bad boy” who opposes Trump can be a lucrative career path, so long as you avoid committing felonies. (Easier said than done, apparently.)
The early reviews of American Crisis weren’t very interested in what the heroic author had to say about his own leadership during the pandemic. Instead, they fixated on Cuomo’s criticism of Trump. Few even questioned his decision to write the book—a de facto declaration of victory over a pandemic that wasn’t over. Even Trump waited until after the election to start selling those commemorative coins.
Cuomo, according to the New York Times, first mentioned the idea of writing a book in July, just days after his administration released a doctored report on the number of COVID-related deaths among New York nursing home patients. Cuomo’s policies were not to blame, the report concluded. Criticism of the state’s (doctored but still high) nursing home death toll, Cuomo writes in the book, was “a lie” orchestrated by “Trump people” and Fox News.
That was a perfectly adequate defense at the time, but Trump’s absence from the political stage means the news cycles are normal again. Cuomo, among others, has withered under the most basic scrutiny. In addition to the sexual harassment scandal, Democratic lawmakers are investigating his handling of the nursing home deaths, and airing fresh grievances about his notoriously volatile temper. Some Democrats think impeachment should be on the table, as others question the governor’s ability to survive a primary challenge in 2022.
It’s a shame that Cuomo’s book has been spared the scrutiny it deserves. Not that anyone’s still reading it. Sales of American Crisis have “ground to a near halt in the last month.” The Free Beacon purchased one of about 400 copies sold since January 23. Despite its billing as a “remarkable portrait of selfless leadership,” the book is best enjoyed as a cry for help from a deeply disturbed man.
Cuomo describes the various stress management tactics he employed at the height of the pandemic. Most of them involved his late father, Gov. Mario Cuomo. He would literally wear his father’s old shoes on “difficult” days. Sometimes he would lie in bed and have imaginary conversations with dad. “I would list a fact pattern and ask him what he thought,” he writes. “And then I would provide his analysis.” This made him “feel as if I were not alone.”
Psychological experts, who had a field day analyzing Trump, will find fertile ground in the pages of American Crisis. For example, Cuomo goes on an extended rant about how his younger brother Chris, the CNN personality, is considered the “funny” one in the family. It’s only because their father was “much more tolerant than he had been with me” and “encouraged [Chris’s] humor.” People wouldn’t think Chris was so funny if he had to deal with the constant media scrutiny that comes with being governor of New York, he insists.
As previously mentioned, the rant is an extended one. Cuomo keeps going, complaining that during their numerous “interviews” on CNN, his playful gibes at Chris weren’t considered “cute,” while his brother’s gibes were. He was in a “no-win position” and couldn’t adequately convey to the viewing public just how funny he really is. “I am funny,” Cuomo concludes, forcefully. “Many people don’t know that I am funny. But I am. Actually, I am very funny.”
His own insistence notwithstanding, Cuomo’s talent for comedy is not universally accepted. “At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny,” Cuomo, 62, recently explained in response to a former aide’s accusation of sexual harassment. According to the aide, 25, the governor’s “jokes” included asking if she “had ever been with an older man” while the two were alone in his office.
During the early days of the pandemic, comedian John Oliver said he couldn’t wait “to get to the other side of this when I can go back to being irritated by [Andrew Cuomo] again.” Welcome to the other side. “Cuomo is famously unpleasant,” Oliver ranted irritably over the weekend. “Even before the current scandals, there was something gross about Cuomo’s glee in his public adulation last year.”
Well, duh. Some of us knew as much already. Ditto the scumbag Avenatti and the Lincoln Project grifters. Maybe one of these days we can finally admit that making funny faces while lip-syncing Donald Trump’s rambling soliloquies was not, in fact, the comedic achievement of the decade. For now, we can all do our best to remember, lest the scandals distract us, that Andrew Cuomo has pierced nipples. That’s pretty funny.
Andrew Stiles is senior writer at the Washington Free Beacon. He can be reached at [email protected]
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