Saturday, December 10, 2011

¿Cuomo lo quieres?

Some have asked--actually, they haven't, but it's always good to be prepared--why I should display such hostility toward Governor Cuomo, given how skillful he has proven at getting our dreadful legislature to do things of which, as an unreconstructed liberal, I must approve. Well, here's why.

Just a month ago, Young Andrew was chatting about Occupy Wall Street with the Daily News (I got it from the Daily Kos), ascribing the movement's existence to "social stress and anxiety",  and adding,
"And I think you see extremist groups on steroids at this time. So there is a lot of rhetoric, a lot of hyperbole. I like to stick with facts and evidence and numbers to make decisions."
So I remember wondering at the time, on the basis of what facts and evidence and numbers did he believe that an extended millionaire's tax was going to send all our job creators and their companies out to those well-known tax havens of New Jersey and Connecticut? Because it was pretty clearly a completely false belief, as demonstrated not just by all the anecdotal evidence you could hope to gather but also by the conclusive New Jersey study by Cristobal Young and Charles Varner--some of that very good evidence you can give your brother-in-law.

(New Jersey's governor Christie managed to score a different opinion with some numbers of his own from a "survey" conducted by his Department of the Treasury, but it used a methodology akin to the one that found out Saddam Hussein was cooking up sarin gas in the palace--i.e., ask some people who know some people whether they know anybody who thinks so, especially if they say they do, and then turn the percentage into the politician's notion of a "probability"--and you really don't have to worry about it.)

Now Cuomo's mysterious facts and evidence and numbers appear to have totally reversed themselves, without ever becoming any more visible than they were, and we are going to get a more progressive tax policy in New York state. Cool. I'm very glad about same-sex marriage, too (though I tend to think of it as a benefit mainly for the wealthy, and their caterers; I suspect that for most gay people of modest means schools, and police, and medical care are on a higher order of priority than that big wedding), and very hopeful that certain environmental depredations in the state will be stopped or slowed. I'm very glad our attorney general Eric Schneidermann is being given a free hand to prosecute some cases that are very important.

It's just that I don't know, all the while, what Cuomo is actually thinking, or how swiftly he might turn it upside down. Could he be the Democrats' Romney--son of a beloved but flawed governor who revealed himself all too easily and never got anything really done--keeping his cards so close to his chest that it isn't finally clear whether he has any cards at all, beyond the idea of "doing something" rather than doing anything in particular, not because something needs to be done but because the voters (or worse, the journalistic fraternity) like it if you look active?

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