Tuesday, August 10, 2021

How the Mighty Are Fallen


Well, that was quick!  Today New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation, forestalling efforts to impeach and remove him.  He also forestalled the article I had posted here yesterday, but which had not yet been published.  Ergo, I had to rewrite it!  That makes me one of the most aggrieved victims of Cuomo's misrule!  Anyway, I think the new version is pretty good.  See if you agree...

Was Cuomo Railroaded, And If So Should We Care?

Not so long ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was a political rock star, with sky-high approval ratings, a fawning press corps, and even an Emmy Award for his supposedly impressive COVID-related diatribes. Cuomo had his critics, but his political armor was, in those halcyon days, more than strong enough to repulse any and all attacks.

Now, Cuomo's popularity, his legitimacy, and his credibility lie in tatters. He is a soon-to-be ex-Governor, instead of a larger-than-life super-Governor. It begs the question: how did we get here?

Primarily, it was sexual harassment allegations, made by at least 11 women, that made Cuomo's position untenable. It was the sheer number of these allegations, and of Cuomo's accusers, that decided his fate – not necessarily the seriousness of the charges, or their incontrovertible truthfulness. It was the “pile-on” effect, most of which occurred in March, that did the trick.

To be clear, Andrew Cuomo has never been charged with any crime. Only recently did one of his accusers decide to pursue a civil suit against him. He was never formally impeached, and he was certainly never tried in the State Senate to determine his guilt. Instead, a report issued by New York's Attorney General – who is strongly suspected of coveting Cuomo's job – was sufficient to push public outrage over the edge. Cuomo himself made the decision that he could no longer govern effectively, and so he quit.

This confirms what is now a regular pattern in American politics: almost never do charges against a prominent politician result in arrest and criminal prosecution. Almost never does a legislature make it all the way through the process of impeachment, trial, conviction, and removal. Instead, a barrage of charges – of greater or lesser veracity, and of greater or lesser seriousness – pepper the accused, until he (it's almost always a “he”, after all) either resigns in disgrace or girds himself to “power through” and emerge on the other side of the media firestorm. Whether the latter strategy is viable depends first and foremost not on the man's guilt or innocence, but on the degree of support he retains in his own party. President Trump, for instance, although he was accused of countless crimes and misdeeds, before, during, and after his presidency, was never abandoned by mainstream Republican voters nor by most GOP elected officials, and thus he survives as the effective leader of his party.

The problem, however, is that, while most of us may want to believe that Cuomo, for instance, is guilty of sexual harassment, because it is so easy to think ill of a man so widely disliked, this does not necessarily make him guilty of any crime or “misdemeanor” in point of fact. He can be a jerk without being a criminal jerk. The distinction matters.

Keep in mind that, towards the end of “Cuomo-gate”, Democrats in New York wanted Cuomo to be guilty, because if he was then he could be removed – as a political liability to Democrats. Republican politicos likewise wanted Cuomo to be guilty, because their conservative constituents would never have forgiven them if they did not vote to impeach and remove such a hated figure on the right.

For different reasons, therefore, politicians of both parties in New York agreed on Cuomo's preferred fate – it was resignation or removal, period/exclamation point – but the nature of the accusations, and the amount of hard evidence underlying them, never made much difference to anyone's political calculus.

Cuomo's position was a little like that of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Hussein stood accused of the possession of weapons of mass destruction, of which he was in fact innocent. No one outside of Iraq had the temerity to defend Hussein, however, or even the imagination to suggest that he could be innocent, and thus his goose was cooked.

Let me be clear: as a conservative, I won't miss Governor Andrew Cuomo in the least. He was and is a terrible man and an awful leader of my home state.

Be that as it may, I am troubled by the fact that the most well-corroborated allegations against Cuomo were, by and large, the least serious ones. The most extreme wrongdoing of which he stood accused – groping a woman in the Executive Mansion – amounts to a case of “he said, she said”.

In all likelihood, none of these accusations will ever come to trial, and thus a “jury of his peers” will never have an opportunity to decide whether Cuomo is guilty or innocent of criminal acts. Nevertheless, the allegations, in themselves, sealed Cuomo's fate, due to their number, their odiousness, and the wall-to-wall coverage which the media chose to give them.

Did Cuomo really harass 11 women...or were those charges merely a convenient means by which the New York political establishment could rid itself of a man who had become “dead weight” and an impediment to Democratic electoral success in 2022 and beyond? We may never know the answer to these questions, and that is highly unfortunate.

There is another thing about this affair that ought to concern us. The mechanism of impeachment and removal, which used to be reserved for very rare and flagrant violations of the public trust, is now increasingly becoming the default means by which politicians try to effect the removal of their most troublesome colleagues.

President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives in January 2021 without the presentation of any evidence, without the examination of witnesses, and without meaningful deliberation. Democrats just screamed “Insurrection!” and pulled the trigger.

Just recently, there was talk in the New York State Assembly of impeaching Cuomo with similar haste and carelessness, because the political imperative of removing him was so compelling – and, it was said, if he were given time to defend himself, there was a danger that someone might listen to what he had to say. No kidding!

In the years to come, we can expect more and more invocations of the “nuclear option” in our political life: the use of impeachment and public trial (or the threat thereof) for the purposes of ending the careers of elected officials – or, to be more blunt, for the purposes of destroying one's political enemies. And that is an inherently dangerous development: it presages more and more allegations, of varying credibility, and more and more show trials, with less and less connection to the first principle of American justice: “innocent until proven guilty”.

Seen from another perspective, our political elite – officeholders, party bigwigs, news editors, pollsters, and the like – are attempting to arrogate to themselves veto power over the ability of any politician to serve out his term of office. Ordinarily, after all, it would be the voters who got to decide who would be, for instance, Governor of New York, and all New Yorkers would be bound, for better or worse, by their choice. Taken to an extreme, however, our new penchant for scandal- and impeachment-based governance will prevent the American people from choosing their leaders, and will substitute for the people's judgment that of “our betters” in the political and media establishment. The new paradigm will allow our leaders, in effect, to choose themselves. That is hardly what the Founders had in mind.

Cuomo's ouster thus serves to remind us that the defining feature of 21st century American political life is its ugliness – and its growing detachment from time-tested democratic norms. And the smart money says it will get considerably worse before it gets better.

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480/106.9.


And here it is at WND: 




In other news, Twitter has suspended Margorie Taylor Greene yet again, for saying things about COVID that are true but which lefties don't want to hear.  We need a Twitter alternative ASAP! 

How do you suppose the West would respond to China's culpability in creating and spreading COVID-19 if, say, it and we had a spine?  This guy lays it out nicely!


  1. Dr. Waddy from Jack: Well argued. Its the Dems after all who have made most egregious misuse of impeachment or its threat. They got nowhere with President Trump and their defense of Clinton was shameful beyond measure. They were blithe to use it to finally get Nixon, who they hated because he tasked their Commie darlings. Its characteristic behavior for the leftist dictated Dems: "any means necessary" is their contnuing credo.

  2. Nick, the charges of sexual harassment may not have been serious to you. They were serious to the women who were victimized. Dismissing them as you have is not a good look for you.

    I think Cuomo is a jerk. I thought he was a jerk 10 years ago. But it is grating that Cuomo is being held accountable while Trump never was held to account for the 24+ accusations of sexual harassment.

  3. Dr.Waddy from Jack: Gads, from one crisis we go, close upon resolution, to another and both featuring New Yawkas, this time Schumer The Senate 50-49 vote to advance the Pelosi dictated House vote on the same mathematically incomprensible 3.4 TRILLION"reconciliation" bill advanced it only out of committee to the Senate floor, if I understand what I have read correctly. It must come to a final vote on the Senate floor and perhape not soon. Oh gads, Joe Manchin and Kristin Sinema, are you with us? Surely there is skillful McConnell effort at work here? Will it be reflected in the penultimate Senate vote, which could be delayed or has he decided to rely on the probable unseating of a Dem congressional majority in 2022, further popularly encouraged by this totalitarian enabling of Schumerite opportunistic onslaught? I note the the GOP Senate resistance to extending tne Federal debt limit but its not unanimous. How e!se can we stop the leftist tide meant nonetheless

    to permanently take our economy to declared Marxist purposes, embodied in this power grab?

  4. Dr. Waddy from Jack: Should we fail to block this monstrous leftist, predictably totalitarian enabling incursion onto the economy of the real America, we must look to a common sense GOP enabled Congress in 2023 to repeal this consummate leftist power grab. But better we beat it now, Joe and Kristen !By2023, leftists will have enacted many contractual obligations, based on this presumptuous robbery, making repeal ever so much harder. Do it now!

  5. Jack, to be fair, I don't think the use/misuse of impeachment proceedings will be all one way. Assuming the GOP retakes the House, I would give VERY good odds that they'll impeach Biden and/or Harris. Heck, maybe they'll even deserve it, but it will be an exercise in futility that won't advance the national interest much.

    Rod, I don't think you quite understand the concept of "justice". No one is "held accountable" because of accusations, no matter how numerous. One is held accountable because of GUILT. We have ways of establishing guilt too, which may seem tedious to your lot, but I still say they have merit.

    Jack, the Dems are purposing to spend more and create new entitlements, yes, but GOP presidents have done quite a bit of both themselves, so it's a matter of degree more than of fundamental differences in governing philosophy. Would their actions be hard to undo? Uh, when does government ever shrink? There you go... I'm afraid our course is set. We WILL someday have to reimagine our fiscal policy and our sprawling welfare state, but we won't do so until the money/credit literally runs out. C'est la vie.

    As for the reconciliation bill, I wouldn't assume anything until the deal is done. There is still much that can go wrong for Schumer and Pelosi. For one, moderate Dems might start reading the polls...

  6. Dr. Waddy et al from Jack: Here is a problem I have when one laments that Cuomo's end was not visited upon Trump: Slick Willy! One Charles Schumer( even today our bete noire)said of Clinton's impeachment trial "lets get this farce over". So inspired, a sufficient number of Dems, reflexively and to their everlasting shame, voted to acquit a man more deserving of conviction than any President so charged. He was accused (and given today's standards, enthusiastically urged by those of his ilk, he might have faced grave jeopardy; Juanita Brodderick accused him of what I believe to have been a capital crime in Arkansas at that time, forcible rape!). So IF you think Clinton's exoneration and his avoidance of possible incarceration in Arkansas' max joint, to have been just, please don't cavil about President Trump. You lack moral and intellectual authority to do so.

    1. Juanita Broaddrick's own husband undercut her story. She wasn't credible.

  7. Nick, doubling down on misogyny is an even worse look. If I am a female state trooper and you touch me in an unwanted manner, you are guilty of an offense. The only thing to be determined is how serious the offense is. We are in an environment today where it is REALLY CLEAR what is permissible and what is not, and unwanted touching is out of bounds. Period.

    With Cuomo, there were 11 women who came forward with such charges. It wasn't "he said, she said," There were witnesses and photos. So, there was no question Cuomo was guilty of what we consider to be the civil standard of workplace harassment (even Cuomo does, as he helped craft the new standards). He possibly also engage in criminal harassment.

    The good old boys out there will ask, "What's the big deal?" The answer is, you are not female, and you apparently don't want to engage in perspective taking. Women tell me that such behavior demeans them and insults them. I believe them, and if a guy in 2021 doesn't get that, maybe that person should find a time machine to go back to the 1950s.

  8. Dr. Waddy from Jack: Respectfully, I do not perceive in GOP intent a further misuse of impeachment authority. We may not even need it; Harris is reprising her unfavorable nomination results in present polls on her suitability for such potentially high office. Biden? He is viable only insofar as he serves the far left in whatever it purposes. Your prediction that eventually inevitable stoppage of our blithe Federal spending carnival will only be summarily defeated by reality, is very creditable! At least for the present, I still do look to McConnell and company to fight the good fight, against present outright funding of socialist airy dreams.

  9. Dr.Waddy from Jack: "Good 'ol boys" ehh? Ok, well, we might expect some "good 'ol boys" to be on the hunt for "no 'count women". Its pretty obvious that Slick Willy was. His profound disrespect for women was further proven by the public humiliation to which he casually subjected his wife. When courageous women spoke of his abuse of them he savaged them, even admittedly denying one of them a meaningful day in court where she sought redress for his crude, presumptuous advances ( didn't one of Clinton's supporters say "" aw just drag a hundred dollar bill thru a trailer park and you'll catch plenty like her" The Dems nevertheless WENT to the WALLfor him and it disqualifies the vicious and unrelenting calumny they still visit on Donald Trump or any wish that Donald Trump be Cuomoized. Cuomo got what he deserved.

  10. Dr. Waddy from Jack: Oh this is just too much! Today Cuomo was quoted to this effect: "I did the right thing by the people of NY by sparing them a long laborious wasted impeachment process which I would have won". I do not know if a "Napoleon complex" is a professionally defined psychological disorder but if so perhaps Cuomo exemplifies it? And please excuse the prolonged celebration of his disgrace that we of those NYers so obviously disdained by him (which I know includes you Dr. Waddy but I know some not resident in NY may not appreciate the satisfaction with which we are rewarded in his disgrace) enjoying his daily increasing fall into absurdity. We endured his dictatorship badly.

  11. Was Juanita Broaddrick "credible"? I have no idea, but that's not the only accusation of impropriety that Clinton faced. Personally, I assume him to be innocent until proven guilty...although I suppose his settlement with Paula Jones could be construed as some sort of admission of guilt.

    Rod, I guess you're saying that every man (and woman) currently engaged in "unwanted touching" should be fired, period/exclamation mark? Well, how many Democratic politicians would be felled by that loose standard? Come on. A lot of what Cuomo was accused of was pretty innocuous. Some of it was very serious. Which parts were TRUE kinda matters, surely.

    You may be right, Jack, that the GOP won't be cavalier with impeachment. I hope not. Arguably a few good censures would achieve the same result, and at less cost...

    Yeah, I trust McConnell and Co. to spend less than the Dems, but that ain't saying much!

    You're right, Jack: as soon as an IMPORTANT Dem, valuable to the cause, is accused of sexual harassment, all the talk about "believe all women" goes out the window, and the character assassination of those women becomes paramount. Truthfully, Dems/progressives respect women about as much as they respect people in general, which is very little. People are a means to an end to them, and the end is defined intellectually.

    I too celebrate the demise of Cuomoism! I just have low expectations for how New York State may improve as a result.

  12. Dr. Wddy from Jack: I think there is a possibility that Kathy Hochul could exemplify a relatively moderate mien which was apparent in her before she came part of Cuomo's , ehh,team. At one time she earned NRA's endorsement and that often reflects a
    common sense outlook on many issues. Of course if at any point she catches the basilisk eye of the radical left which dominates the legislature, the process of savaging her character will commence. American Taliban is no doubt gathering its resources in case she willfully steps out of line.

  13. Jack, Hochul will be walking a fine line, to say the least. To become the nominee of her party in 2022, she'll need to tack left -- hard left. To satisfy you, she'd have to tack to the center. Guess where I'm placing MY bets...

  14. Dr. Waddy from Jack: You may WELL be right! But perhaps Hochul will demonstrate a strength of character hitherto publicly untested. Yes, she has initially demonstrated a deference to NYC but it may be tactical. Let her put downstaters in mainly ceremonial positions. It could be that in declaring she will run for a full term and in her present tenure that she purposes a principled antidote to Cuomo's disdainful NYC ism. We'll see. She is retirement age and PERHAPS resentful of the disdain Western New Yorkers no doubt experience in the NYC suburb of empowered Albany. Believe me, I, know the difference; I lived there and essential Albany is a common sense place inimical to the downstate invaders it hosts, of necessity. Hochul may see she has nothing to lose in assaulting this leftist fortress. Maybe!

  15. Jack, Hochul will, we assume, we Governor of ALL of New York State, not just the southern reaches, and that in itself represents an improvement!

  16. Dr.Waddy fromJack: Ditto! Well reasoned.