Teachout, Cuomo & the Dictatorship of the Bureaucracy
When I think of Zephyr Teachout, I am specifically mindful of the fact that she’s a protest vote for the liberal wing of the statewide Democratic Party. Most of them in and around the 5 New York City Boroughs. When I think of Zephyr Teachout, I think of this classic scene from Annie Hall:
Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu are bright and, as far as anyone can tell, beyond reproach. Both of them are Manhattan intellectuals, and Teachout has adopted statewide political corruption as a platform plank, and Wu is known for his work on behalf of net neutrality. Indeed, he coined the phrase.
Andrew Cuomo has disappointed a lot of left activists. While the right assail him for the mild additive restrictions on guns via the “NY SAFE Act”, the left is sick and tired of continued Albany corruption, the constant, unchecked abuses of power, the power of incumbency, the insidious poisoning of the process by money and electoral fusion, and – above all – the comical overnight dismantling of the Moreland Commission just as soon as it started really doing its job.
The New York Times declined to endorse Teachout due to her rookie non-credentials and her ignorance on anything going on north of Poughkeepsie and west of Nyack. It also declined to endorse Cuomo because of his fumbling of corruption. I think this is something of a cop-out.
I have no idea whether Teachout can win the primary – I highly doubt it, but stranger things have happened.
Here in WNY we have a unique position unlike other parts of the state. There’s no Billion for Binghamton; no Assets for Albany, no Riches for Rochester or Silver for Syracuse. Yet Buffalo and WNY have come under special Cuomo attention for two reasons: 1. he lost to Paladino here in 2010, and he wants badly to win; and 2. if he can show the world that Buffalo underwent a turnaround under his watch, he can sell that to the rest of the country in some future run. Fix Buffalo and the world is your political oyster.
So, it’s tough to ignore the attention that the state has heaped on our fair city and region and simply dismiss Cuomo out of hand. Indeed, it’s about damn time an Albany pol tried to un-fuck Buffalo.
But from a less selfish point of view, Albany politics are just as ugly and problematic as they’ve ever been. Efforts to change that have not only been stymied – Cuomo has actively prevented them. Our Democratic governor, whom gun nuts liken to Karl Marx, actively supported the notion of a Republican majority in the feckless State Senate. It took Teachout to get him to actually support the idea that Democrats should win elections.
Last night, I received a call from a Cuomo phone bank asking for my support. I bluntly told them, “ordinarily I would, but this Moreland thing has really thrown me for a loop”. She marked me down as “undecided”, but seriously – it’s tough for me to support a governor who so casually dismisses the root of all state evils – Albany dysfunction and corruption. This is especially true given the clean mandate that Cuomo has had to do just that. Cuomo’s inaction and outright refusal to address these issues is disappointing to me as a Democrat, but should be disappointing to all New Yorkers.
Bluntly put, you can take your “REPEAL NY SAFE” sign and shove it, because the size of your magazine isn’t the assault on liberty you should be concerned about.
Instead, get angry about Albany’s multipartisan conspiracy with the dictatorial bureaucracies to commit managerial and legislative malpractice. This perverse system ensures that state government works for the tri-state area and no one else. Manhattan’s own Teachout and Wu aren’t going to fix that. Neither is Cuomo from Queens or Rob from Mount Pleasant (really).
There’s nothing new here. The Brennan Center’s blueprint for reforming Albany is a decade old. No one pushes it because it’s heady and complicated and not as shiny as a gun.
You won’t do anything about it. Your village, town, city, Assembly, and state Senate won’t do anything about it. Andrew Cuomo won’t do anything about it, and neither will Rob Astorino. Zephyr Teachout is at least talking about the right things, but there’s zero chance that she would get elected in November.
So, suck it up, New Yorkers. No matter whom you vote for in September’s primary, you’re in for another 4 years of bureaucrats running the state for their own benefit. Unfortunately, short of a governor with some balls or a Constitutional Convention, it’s never going to change.