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New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo is perhaps the canniest politician in America — a liberal Democrat with an internal GPS that tells him with pinpoint accuracy when to turn into the conservative lane.
Can the previously popular pol survive a sex-harassment scandal that threatens to turn the feminist fighter into not just a fire-breathing hypocrite, but a potential criminal?
Yes, he can.
If anyone can retain his job, his self-respect and his mind after being accused of touching, groping, bullying – or some combination of all three – 11 women without their consent, it’s Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo vows not to step down from the governorship, leveling the somewhat cringe-worthy claim that he’s a hugger, not a groper. Nothing to see here! But while new polls show he’s lost a majority of voters’ support, he still has friends, allies and fans, who could flood back into his corner at a moment’s notice should he present a compelling case for his innocence. Beating this will be tough, but far from impossible.
Cuomo’s political skills were honed at the feet of his late dad, Mario, and perfected under the administration of former President Bill Clinton in which he served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the ’90s. There, Cuomo learned that some policies considered leftist orthodoxy can and should be broken. Throwing large sums of money at the homeless crisis accomplishes nothing, he concluded, and tackling drug abuse and-mental health issues with tough-love as requirements for free or affordable housing is not just the best way to address the problem, but the only way. It was a surprisingly right-wing stance.
And as it turns out, he was right.
Other social issues put him squarely in the leftist box. He supported same-sex marriage before Barack Obama did, and swears allegiance to abortion rights and cannabis legalization — though these issues tend to please New York voters, or at least fail to galvanize any meaningful opposition.
But his political future, or lack of it, may be determined by something unrelated to the particular trouble in which he’s mired. A lot of it depends on the fortunes of #MeToo.
The movement that took down Harvey Weinstein and cost Kevin Spacey TV and film roles now has Cuomo in its crosshairs. But all evidence indicates that as a political power, #MeToo has lost its mojo and has urned into a punchline, a one-size-fits-all cudgel for the unglued hatred of men.
The once-necessary corrective to male (and it’s usually male) predations went on life support after its adherents drove from office the jokemeister ex-Sen Al Franken for pretending to grab a woman back when he was still a comedian. It went into its death throes after some of he same people hounded nonagenarian ex-Prez George H.W. Bush to his grave for allegedly patting women’s backsides with the same fury once reserved for the like of Bill Cosby.
Oddly, Cuomo’s highest-ranking current opponent, President Joe Biden, has been caught up in his own touchy-feely #MeToo brouhaha, with his repeated, uninvited, manhandling of women and girls. Voters, however, were more than happy to excuse Uncle Joe’s demonstrated creepiness as mere examples of Joe being Joe.
Biden publicly apologized for his behavior. So did Cuomo.
Just wait. Pretty soon, all will be forgiven.
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