EDITORIAL: Turning back the clock in Albany World
In the mid-1960s, a U.S. senator from Vermont proposed a brilliant solution to the growing quagmire that was the American military involvement in Vietnam.
“Declare victory and withdraw,” said Sen. George Aiken.
In effect, boldly deny your failure and hope no one notices.
This, in effect, is what Gov. Andrew Cuomo did last week, declaring victory in the face of his otherwise naked inability – or unwillingness – to keep his campaign promises to the voters.
In all manner of public pronouncement, including a reality-denying stream of tweets on Twitter, Cuomo claimed to be at the center of the most historic clutch of political accomplishments.
“We came, we saw the problem, we fixed the problem,” he said, sounding a little like Julius Caesar.
Oh, no, they didn’t. Not hardly.
What actually happened was a relapse of Albany World into the most cynical of political expedience, with Cuomo in the middle of it all, bold pronouncements and streaming tweets notwithstanding.
Among other things, the set of agreements Cuomo announced were the product of the depressingly familiar sausage grinder of backroom deal making, which included killing the promised, independent redrawing of election districts.
Dismissing criticism with a glib, “Government is supposed to function. It’s not a debating society,” Cuomo elided over the obvious. When elected representatives are expected to vote without having read the stack of bills before them, much less deliberate over the particulars, ostensibly democratic government not only is not a debating society, it’s also not democratic. Continued...
And democratic government in New York, in fact, was deferred – also by backroom agreement – for another 10 years. (That is not a typo – 10 years.)
Reneging on repeated promises he would use his veto power to block anything but independent redrawing of legislative districts, Cuomo agreed to district lines that Republican senators drew themselves, in exchange for independent redistricting in 2022. (That date is not a typo – 2022.)
Picking voters by gerrymandering district lines is, of course, exactly how the GOP has maintained a majority in the Senate for decade after decade, despite Democratic voters statewide outnumbering Republican by 2-to-1.
“We fixed the problem”?
Right word, wrong use. Correctly, the fix was in.
Same old Albany World.
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