Sunday, September 7, 2014

Why the 11th-Hour Tactics of Governor 1% May Backfire

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is up to his old tricks as the Democratic primary challenge to him from Professor Zephyr Teachout continues to gain momentum as we close in on Tuesday's vote.

Teachout ("Democracy Now!"),
Cuomo (Elissa Jun / FEMA)
Just like the Cuomo campaign's 1) deployment of interns to hound Teachout, 2) unsuccessful objection to signatures on her petitions for nomination, and 3) expenditure of $2.5 million on failed attempts to remove her name from the ballot generated more publicity for her candidacy than it may ever have otherwise received, there are reasons to suspect the last-minute maneuvers by the incumbent will damage his prospects.

Cuomo's campaign stepped up its efforts as word spread about the stances of his running mate for lieutenant governor, namely Kathleen "Kathy" Hochul, who has described her record in Congress as "very conservative."  Hochul, who became a lobbyist for M&T Bank after she lost her congressional seat after one term, faces competition from Teachout's running mate: Prof. Timothy Wu.  But the effort to market Hochul as "progressive" is an obvious ruse, especially when her poor record on environmental protection and on regulation of guns is considered.

Although Cuomo, who has declined to be interviewed on television at any time in the last eight years*, and Hochul refuse to face their opponents in any debate, publicly mention them by name or now even accept a handshake from either of them, dishonest and illogical attacks were directly launched against Teachout on Friday by prominent allies of Cuomo in a conveniently-timed burst that was apparently one in a series orchestrated by him.

Those surrogates curiously include ex-gov. David Paterson, state senator Jeffrey Klein, state senator Diane Savino and Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, all of whom might actually hurt Cuomo and Hochul among Democrats statewide.  After all, Paterson left office with a job approval rating of 32%, Klein and Savino conspired with Cuomo to preserve Republican control of the State Senate, and a poll from last year found 51% of voters in the Empire State -- including a plurality of its Democrats -- believe Silver should resign as speaker.

Although WNYC has hosted current gubernatorial nominee Robert Astorino (R) on the air many times, Paterson, Klein and Savino alleged Teachout's decision to debate Astorino on that outlet somehow enabled an "extreme" right-wing agenda.  He was twice elected by a double-digit percentage to be executive of Westchester County, which has twice as many Democrats as Republicans.  He is not extreme.  Furthermore, given who has helped ensure a Republican majority in the upper chamber in the State Capitol, the three aforementioned surrogates are flagrantly hypocritical when they decry supposed elevation of conservative viewpoints.

Silver melodramatically trotted out the tired insinuation that implies anyone who does not embrace the military policy of Israel is anti-Semitic.  He cast that slander upon Teachout and Wu, who are vulnerable to it because they, unlike Cuomo, prefer to discuss issues relevant to the offices they seek rather than foreign policy.

Meanwhile, Cuomo/Hochul's online advertisement, pictured below, falsely implies to people who vaguely know of Teachout/Wu that the latter duo is anti-choice, in favor of arbitrary discrimination, and against universal pre-kindergarten.  Also included is language that, for those who do not know of Teachout/Wu, falsely implies the general election will be held this Tuesday rather than November 4.

The objective of the Cuomo/Hochul strategy is clearly to hinder a substantive contrast of the paths from which Democratic New Yorkers can choose.  Anyone who pays attention can smell the desperation of Cuomo and Hochul, who evidently do not even deem themselves the best team in the race.

UPDATE: Cuomo and Mayor Warren Wilhelm Jr. Bill de Blasio (D-NYC) bullied prominent figures out of endorsements of Teachout/Wu.

*Reported on Inside City Hall on NY1, 2 Sept. 2014

This piece originally appeared on

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