Publisher’s Corner: Has the pandemic changed Governor Cuomo?

Photo courtesy of the Govenror’s Office
Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers a coronavirus briefing on July 6, 2020.

Andrew Cuomo has been amazing for many reasons. I truly appreciate the respect he has for WAMC/Northeast Public Radio. I have always believed in the Freudian concept that character is established at a very young age but I think that theory has been challenged by Andrew’s personal development. The three-term governor argues that he hasn’t changed at all; that he is the same guy he has always been. Maybe, but I keep meeting people who used to despise him. They considered him mean spirited and lacking a sense of humor. Interestingly, many of these same people who used to have a bad opinion of Andrew are now singing a different tune. For one thing, he is smarter than they thought. They also talk about how funny he can be when they previously accused him of having no sense of humor. I interviewed his father for more years than I can remember and I see a lot of parallels between Mario and Andrew. They both have had their dark moments but since I have been interviewing him pretty much weekly, I have to tell you that I really like him. He has been kind and complimentary about my work and I always leave our sessions feeling great.

It hasn’t always been easy between the two of us. For his first two terms, he didn’t talk to me. Then, one day, there he was, and he has been coming back pretty much ever since. I try to ask him the tough questions and for the most part, he answers them. The last time we spoke I asked him who he was dating. I knew that he wasn’t going to be straight with me and he jokingly referred to a lady who wrote to me hoping to get an introduction to him. He described her attributes in some detail. If you are asking why Andrew’s social life is important to any of us, the answer is because it is. We are disgusted by Donald Trump’s treatment of women because we do judge our politicians on the basis of character.

It is possible that Andrew’s character has really changed based on his clear concern over all the sickness and death he has seen during his service. After all, the pandemic that he has been dealing with is probably the worst in modern world history. It is hard to imagine the level of responsibility he must feel.

In our last conversation, he seemed resigned to a resurgence of the virus in New York. What with people coming to what has to be the most important city in the world, he may certainly prove to be on target. Andrew has been between a rock and a hard place when it comes to dealing with Donald Trump. He needs resources for the state and the city, but the country is counting on him to lead us away from the monster in chief. Lately he has been speaking negatively about Trump, probably because it looks like the Democrats in the House will prevail in getting us a relief package for the cities and states.

Look, Andrew is a very good tactician. He has played his cards brilliantly. Like me, he has to worry about losing his temper. Once you do that, your political competitors claim a win. He gets that, I am sure. It’s hard to do. The more successful you are, the more the losers come after you.

Andrew was given extraordinary emergency powers to deal with the pandemic. Now there is bitching from the Republicans and some Democrats who have been hiding under their beds while the governor took the heat and made the hard calls. I do not feel sorry for these hapless political creatures whose leadership seem afraid of their own shadows when it comes to getting on the radio and answering the tough questions.