In spite of the fact that my Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has done the right thing on fracking, he is now showing the side of himself that led to his getting a serious primary challenge last year from Zephyr Teachout. Apparently, Cuomo has been fine tuning a long standing pattern of petty and vindictive behavior toward perceived political "enemies," perhaps motivated in part from his recently formed "bipartisan" alliance with Chris Christie.
Once again, we are seeing a bullying governor extracting revenge against enemies - that is against the teachers. Funny, but Chris Christie hates the teachers, too.
My local newspaper, the Poughkeepsie Journal, reported this in today's paper.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo broke a promise to local educators, some said on Wednesday.
When the governor vetoed a bill — one which he originally proposed — that would have temporarily removed Common Core-based student test scores from the evaluation scores of teachers who rated poorly, he did so out of spite, said Debra Kardas, president of the Poughkeepsie Public School Teachers’ Association.
Cuomo was angry at the New York State United Teachers for its decision not to endorse a gubernatorial candidate in the November election, Kardas said.
“There will be some people impacted by this,” Kardas added. “For me, it’s the broader picture of trust. I hope on a larger scope, more people see that this is a man who you cannot trust. How do you trust a person who doesn’t follow through?”
The article goes on to quote Debra Karda, who calls this action by Cuomo - turning and vetoing a bill he initially supported - a "spiteful action. Also here also is a quote from a teacher in Beacon, NY, where I reside, that refers to Cuomo's motivation as being “flooded with politics.” And it's hard to see it as anything but. After all, this is a governor who, like his ally Chris Christie, has a well established track record of petty vindictiveness, as well as of sticking it to progressives, to labor, and to their causes. For example,
There's this, referring to Cuomo's seeking out and development of a good working relationship with Rupert Murdoch
Cuomo has extremely high approval ratings two years into his governorship and he has managed to take his popularity and use it to push through all kinds of policies that Rupert Murdoch likes.
In return Murdoch's papers treat Cuomo with respect and promote this image of Cuomo as mature, measured, statesmanlike and indeed, presidential.
But behind the scenes Cuomo has the reputation for being the same nasty, vindictive, paranoid asshole he always was - he's simply learned to game the public relations so that few people outside of politics know that.
This being a "paranoid asshole" includes keeping files and enemies lists and dividing reporters into "friends" and "enemies" categories and seeing to either avoid or to punish the enemies.
And while Cuomo certainly did the right thing on the fracking issue, the larger picture of his statements and policies on the environment is of a man who puts politics and the political calculus over and above sound policy. One observer who points out the Cuomo has yet to fully acknowledge human causes of climate change noted
So why is Cuomo now sliding backward into ignorant babbling? Local activists wonder if he is trying to create room to wiggle out of future environmental action. “Maybe he doesn’t want to get caught [having to ban] fracking,” says Kim Teplitzky, a Northeastern spokesperson for the Sierra Club. “But there might be a lot more to it. The state has a renewable portfolio standard that they’re way behind on meeting.”
Or the answer could be simpler: that Cuomo, a cynical, vindictive, hyper-political creature, wants to distance himself from the left. He thinks it’s in his long-term political interest. And he is mad at the progressives, many of them green, who backed Teachout’s campaign.
I can't help but agree with the giist of this argument: Cuomo wants to move further rightward so as to fulfill his political ambitions and a good way to do this is to screw over progressives every chance that he gets. And to project power by implying that enemies will be destroyed at every turn.
Boss Tweed has thus apparently given way to Boss Cuomo. But perhaps sooner or later, this will all likely catch up with him, that is, if his enemies begin to outnumber and outmaneuver his allies. What will happen, for example, if Chris Christieis found guilty of federal corruption charged, as is possible? or Cuomo himself, for that matter?
In the meantime, the state's teachers are fighting back. My affiliate union, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) continues to rally against our bullying governor and to stand up for public education and for the hard working teachers who don't need to be scapegoated by a vindictive, power hungry, tyrant in the governor's office.
11:17 AM PT: Thanks to all who put this on the Rec List. And here's to calling out pseudo-Dems like Cuomo as often and as loudly as we possibly can!