Bob Franken




The 165-page report released by New York’s Attorney General Letitia James described New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s behavior, certainly with female employees, as “the dichotomy between fear and flirtation.” A five-month investigation led by James set out accusations against Cuomo that ranged from perv to sicko.
Let’s assume that Cuomo is as incapable of embarrassment as Donald Trump, who, as you remember, survived his own serious groping scandal. Maybe it’s a New York kinda thing, and Cuomo is trying to work some sort of deal where, if he bluffs and blusters long enough and plays his cards right, he can stay on as governor.
If Cuomo’s not playing for time to see if it all goes away and ignoring the reality that he has no cards left, he is deluded enough to disregard that nearly every Democrat — from Joe Biden to Chuck Schumer on down — is calling for his resignation. Several prosecutors are proceeding with criminal investigations of his alleged sex crimes.
Let’s assume that his defiant stand is for real. He’s reacted by showing other Democrats embracing each other, and claims that he, too, engaged in no “inappropriate touching.” Tell that to the various female subordinates who claim he propositioned them, or the state trooper bodyguard he found attractive who needed to protect her own body from Cuomo’s hands-on approach.

Here’s what Cuomo told his constituents: “My job is not about me. My job is about you. What matters to me at the end of the day is getting the most done I can for you. And that is what I do, every day, and I will not be distracted from that job.” His words were met by New Yorkers’ Bronx cheers, or the more universal sign of ridiculing with their hands. If being considered a pathetic man doesn’t faze him, then Andrew Cuomo has the chutzpah to not only test the waters, but jump in with a cannonball.
Or if it’s his way of going through all five stages of grief at once — a massive denial that will soon be replaced by grudging acceptance — then his days as governor are actually numbered.
The family legacy, personified by the late patriarch Mario Cuomo, is severely tattered, though it can work on partial recovery. It’s not only son Andy, whose political ascendency is being done in by allegedly the most wretched low-life behavior, but Mario’s other son Chris turns out to have ignored the consequences of practicing journalistic nepotism.
Judges have an ethical imperative to “avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.” News people should bend over backward to meet the same standard, particularly the “nepots.” Chris definitely did not. He was blatant about it, actually flaunting his brotherly connection when Gov. Cuomo was hot property and privately advising him when the walls started closing in. CNN, where Chris Cuomo works, has decided so far to accept the misbehavior of one of its star anchors. But in these days of heightened suspicion of all things media, we can’t afford another hit to our credibility. That’s between him and CNN. And yes, I need to point out that I worked there for decades as one of the more obscure correspondents.
As the world turns, the Andrew Cuomo soap opera will probably be canceled one way or the other. He will be succeeded by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, the first woman to become chief executive of New York. She’s certainly not the first female governor of a state, but this is New Yawk, and you can count on each and every one of us to make a big deal about her being first, yada, yada, yada.
That’s what we call progress in a world still dominated by guys who will soon be extinct if they act like Andrew Cuomo is alleged to have acted — in other words, like too many guys.

© 2021 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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