Monday, March 15, 2021

Where "Patsy" Is Not "Cline"

The editors of The New York Times deserve credit.  On Saturday, The Times called for the resignation of New York governor Andrew Cuomo, whom it acknowledged it had endorsed for re-election, including for re-nomination.  Its twelve paragraph editorial not only emphasized the charges of sexual harassment against the governor but said nothing about his nursing home scandal.

The Times thereby avoided egregious disingenuousness. As policy, the decision to send Covid-19 patients from the hospital to nursing homes, then hiding statistics about the deaths of nursing home residents, was atrocious. As scandal, it didn't amount to much.

Without the sex charges leveled against the governor, the nursing home disaster would be an occasional topic for the Times and even less often a topic for The Washington Post and other great newspapers.  There would have been relative silence except for a few calls from New York state legislators for Cuomo to step down because they have their own, generally justified, beefs with the governor.

Neither Majority Leader and New York senator Chuck Schumer nor New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand would have proposed he resign, nor would there have been speculation that President Biden would do so, and The New York Times itself would have been reticent. After an initial uproar, social media would have gone on to other things and the unnecessary deaths of many elderly New Yorkers would have been forgotten.

So make no mistake: pressure is mounting on Governor Cuomo to quit because of terrible behavior toward women and for (virtually) no other reason. As marketing professor Scott Galloway remarked in a discussion (in a video no longer available; I've substituted another) on Bill Maher's Real Time

But at the same time, they trigger me because women and people of color lost one of the most powerful advocates when Kristen Gillibrand decided to disappear Al Franken so she could have a seven minute run for President. And we're in the midst of a pile on and here's the reality: voters get to decide in 18 months. The majority of- of- 48% of white people, 63% of non whites believe he should not resign. We as Democrats need to be the party of women but we also need to be the party of due process. We need to slow down, let those women be heard and let due process occur here and not just pile on.

Twenty-three years ago, during the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, Democrats understood that sex improprieties were insufficient cause for dismissal short of an election.  That has radically changed as many, boasting enlightened thought, rush to judgement because they fear the opprobrium of mainstream media and the outrage of a portion of their base.

If Democrats continue to succumb to pressure and demand ouster of their own elected officials, they will not earn respect from Republicans. They will receive passing praise from the media, which will do Democrats no good. And that portion of their base demanding the man's scalp will move on to the next outrage. On a positive note, they could begin wearing bright blue jerseys reading "patsy."

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