Twitter is the new political tool



My birthday is not until next July but Rich Azzopardi of Governor Cuomo’s press office has recently sent me a gift that should certainly be acknowledged.

Azzopardi, who was once my student on The Legislative Gazette newspaper, now seems to be in charge of retributive tweeting for the governor.  Of course Azzopardi, who I remember liking from class years ago, takes orders from Cuomo as in, “Go get him.” Whether or not Azzopardi’s insulting tweets about me are on Cuomo orders is something I can’t tell you, but I can say that Twitter is the new political tool and has been used frequently by everyone from Donald Trump on down (or up) the food chain.

To be dissed by Azzopardi makes my day. Somehow it means that I matter. It would appear that Andrew Cuomo is not happy with me. Azzopardi’s hostile tweet is not the first time I have been warned about Cuomo’s being mad at me. This greatly disappoints me. I’d like to think I’ve been fair about Cuomo. After all, I interviewed his father, Mario Cuomo, for many years on most, if not all, of the public radio stations in New York as well as Boston and some others.

I was filled with praise for Andrew when he did the right thing on gun control. Writing from this perch, I stood up for the guy, noting his courage in taking on the gun people. I know that Andrew saw the column because he called me to thank me for defending his decision. I knew there would be hell to pay, especially in upstate New York where there are a lot of people who like, no LOVE, their guns. It took guts to do what he did.

On the other hand, I have not been shy about writing that Cuomo is wrong when he clearly is wrong. Let’s see: there was that Moreland Act Commission thing. You remember, that’s when the governor appointed a corruption fighting commission and then, when that group was zeroing in some skullduggery, some of which was coming pretty close to home, the governor inexplicably disbanded the corruption fighters, suggesting that it was his Commission and he could do whatever he wanted with it. That may have been news to his partner in establishing that Commission, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. It certainly didn’t make United States Attorney Preet Bharara happy. From the minute that Cuomo pulled the bonehead Moreland play, Bharara has been breathing down his neck on a number of subjects including investigations into “pay to play” awarding of state contracts.

Then too, I wrote a good deal about Cuomo’s awful treatment of teachers in New York state. It is clear that he saw the error of his ways on that one and has made amends to the teachers union although, as I recently wrote, there are many teachers in New York with long memories.

Cuomo’s bullying of Mayor Bill de Blasio has been a frequent subject of mine. Cuomo plays very rough and my bet is that poor de Blasio may be feeling great pain since so many things have descended on him since Andrew began beating him up. It doesn’t end there but I think I understand why Azzopardi dropped his hatchet on me.

So what exactly did Azzopardi write about me? Here is it, in its entirety. He tweeted. “Just when I think the amount of revisionist history and tone deaf analysis in Chartock’s columns has hit a ceiling, I get proven wrong.”

As a political scientist with a Ph.D. and a former joint professor at two SUNY campuses who holds the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, I am fascinated by Azzopardi’s intellectual foray into revisionism. Sounds like one of those arguments the old Soviet biggies used to have with one another. Frankly I loved it. Hey Azzopardi’s only doing his job! Hey, Rich, could you just do it again?