The Political Cynicism of Andrew Cuomo; Or How He Stopped Loving the Lockdown

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is no friend of the people of New York. He’s been one of the staunchest proponents of lockdown since the COVID crisis began, imposing near total closure of all businesses, while simultaneously neglecting measures sent to help New Yorkers weather the storm and, most recently, instituting rules about who could receive the vaccination that led to many doses being thrown out as they expired.

Way back in May, The Federalist columnist David Marcus — who resides in New York — called out the inefficiency and dysfunction of Cuomo’s approach, saying the lockdown needed to end immediately.

Last Friday morning, some 3,500 New Yorkers lined up at a Catholic church in Queens to receive free food hours before it even opened, ­according to the New York Police Department. Catholic Charities has reported a 200 percent increase in demand over the past month and a half.

By prolonging the coronavirus shutdown long after its core mission was accomplished, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have plunged tens of thousands of New Yorkers into poverty.

It needs to end. Now.

In mid-March, we were told we have to endure a lockdown to ensure that hospitals didn’t get overrun. We did. The hospitals were not overwhelmed. We turned the Javits Center into a hospital. We didn’t need it. We brought in a giant Navy ship to treat New Yorkers. We didn’t need it.

We were told we were moments away from running out of ventilators. We weren’t, and now the United States has built so many, we are giving them away to other countries.

Meanwhile, the Big Apple is ­dying. Its streets are empty. The bars and jazz clubs, restaurants and coffeehouses sit barren. Beloved haunts, storied rooms, perfect-slice joints are shuttered, many for good. The sweat equity of countless small-business owners is evaporating. ­Instead of getting people back to work providing for their families, our mayor talks about a fantasyland New Deal for the post-coronavirus era.

Well, today, 8 months later, Cuomo apparently finally agrees.

So, what changed? A mere month ago, the governor of one of the most populous states was warning New Yorkers another lockdown was imminent because, “while New York’s rate is lower than most other states, the numbers are alarming, and if not turned around, may soon lead to a second total closure of all but essential businesses and services.”

“If we do not change the trajectory, we could very well be headed to shut down,” Cuomo said. “And shut down is something to worry about.”

The thinly-veiled, threatening language notwithstanding, has New York done everything right since December 15th, so that her governor is now genuinely concerned about the high cost of closing businesses and ceding the streets to antifa and BLM, which held another march a day ago where they declared the streets of the city were “their motherf***ing streets”?

To be fair, the antifa/BLM march may have played a role, but more compelling to Cuomo is likely the fact that now that his old nemesis Donald Trump appears to be thoroughly disgraced — after providing all the medical help, testing, and vaccines the city has ever needed — Cuomo can now open the city and take credit for the healing. No one’s likely eager to credit Trump with much in the near term.

This kind of political cynicism, where a man whom many think is responsible for the carnage caused in New York’s nursing homes at the height of the virus’ rampage can suddenly proclaim the war is over because he has the smart and safe plan, is partly why the country is in the state she’s in. There’s a real dishonesty in Cuomo’s pronouncement, one intended solely to salvage his own reputation, and that has little to do with actually helping New Yorkers.

And now that Cuomo and other politicians of his ilk — California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom springs to mind — know they can impose their will on the people of their states at their personal whim and discretion, and with little backlash, they will continue to exercise that power whenever and however they please.

New York’s gubernatorial election is coming up in 2022, and Cuomo has hinted he might run again. To the extent the people can trust the electoral process — and we have some work to do on that front in the coming year — New York would do well to make sure Andrew Cuomo never has power over them again.