Democrats: Vote Teachout / Hochul September 9th

Tuesday September 9th is primary day, and Democrats throughout New York State have an important choice to make for Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

I’m voting for Zephyr Teachout for Governor, and Kathy Hochul for Lieutenant Governor, and you should, too. 

I am deeply disappointed in Governor Cuomo’s mishandling and abrupt cessation of the Moreland Commission’s investigation into Albany cronyism and corruption. These two topics are, to me, among the most important challenges facing the state today.  The role and power of money in politics, the unmitigated power of incumbency, the dictatorship of Albany authorities and bureaucracies, and the quid-pro-quo legalized bribery of electoral fusion all conspire to keep New York politics dysfunctional, slowly reactionary, and self-indulgent. For this reason, as well as Cuomo’s apparent lies about meddling in the state Senate, I have to register my disgust with the status quo.

These are huge, persistent problems, yet no one in or near power has any incentive to address or change them. Zephyr Teachout has made this the centerpiece of her campaign. 

I don’t do this lightly – my hesitation to denounce Cuomo is informed by how obviously good he’s been for western New York, helping to rebuild the foundation on which a new economy might emerge. We are finally making big leaps into the information age, having long-ago shed our reliance on big industry. We’re also rediscovering the value of skilled trades as an avenue for personal success and entrepreneurship. Having lost the WNY vote to Carl Paladino pretty decisively, Cuomo has paid remarkable attention to our region.  Imagine how good it would be for him to run for national office at some future date, and be able to campaign on how he turned around 50 years of Buffalo’s economic depression. I will enthusiastically vote for Andrew Cuomo in November if he is the party’s nominee. 

Furthermore, the Teachout/Wu ticket is focused on issues that matter only to the 5 boroughs of New York City – risibly so. As the old joke goes, ‘what’s the difference between ignorance and indifference? I don’t know and I don’t care’. Take a look at the five pillars of the Teachout/Wu platform, and the words “Buffalo” and “Western New York” appear exactly zero times. This ticket, as presented, has nothing to say about WNY or upstate issues (except for spotty broadband service and fracking) because they don’t know the first thing about it.  Teachout fumbled questions about keeping the Bills in WNY. Teachout/Wu presents a wide spectrum of points of view about New York State – Upper West and Lower East Side. 

Teachout’s “economy” piece deals mostly with consolidation of power, and the parts about infrastructure deal with the MTA and the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Upstate gets an abrupt shout-out about broadband, but that’s it.  The “education” piece is of general applicability to all of New York, and is replete with positions any Democrat should support – especially when it comes to the shameful way Albany has been balancing budgets on the schools’ backs for several years. On the “environment“, Teachout is the only serious candidate who opposes hydrofracking, full stop. Let Pennyslvania destroy its own aquifers – we like ours just fine, thanks. On “an open democracy“, Teachout talks about reforms that really have little to do with opening up democracy, and talks instead of reforming criminal justice, marijuana laws, and preventing abuse of the disabled. 

But the bigger picture has to do with the way the system itself is rigged – even when it benefits us as western New Yorkers.  It’s simply not being treated like the serious problem it is. That’s why the position on “corruption” is so important to me. The only thing missing – because Working Families Party – is an entry denouncing and promising an end to electoral fusion in New York State. Not incidentally, Teachout has written a scholarly work attempting to prove that embedded in our Constitution is an “anti-corruption principle” every bit as important as, say, separation of powers. 

So, because Teachout’s platform imagines that New York consists – with the exception of the Albany exclave – mainly of territories East of the Hudson and South of Poughkeepsie, I will be voting for Kathy Hochul for Lieutenant Governor. 

Hochul has the administrative and governmental chops to make up for Teachout’s utter lack of experience, and Hochul brings with her a native’s passion and knowledge about rural and western New York realities to help balance out Teachout’s geographically limited platform. Hochul was an independent-minded, conservative Democrat and balances out Teachout’s progressive-left worldview and mindset. Remember – although Teachout is running with Wu and Hochul is running with Cuomo, you can split these slates up however you’d like. Vote Cuomo/Wu, if you prefer. 

This isn’t about conspiratorial fantasies, either. I’m not trying to punish Cuomo for the NY SAFE Act or the dictatorship of the bureaucracy, except insofar as he’s doing nothing to make state bureaucrats answerable (at least indirectly) to their bosses – the people. 

For all the good he’s done for western New York, Andrew Cuomo has deceived Democrats and reformists in this state to the point of outrage. The brazen horse-trading with Senate President Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver to abruptly end the Moreland Commission on corruption was the last straw. No on-time budget is worth sacrificing the public trust yet again. It also speaks to the fundamental anti-democratic unfairness of the continued all-powerful triumverate that presides over Albany’s body politic. Cuomo’s apparent involvement in maintaining a Republican-led Senate is a betrayal made worse by lies

Albany graft and corruption help to stall and demean economic, political, and social progress in every corner of New York State. Teachout deserves support in the upcoming primary because she’s the only candidate who perceives and identifies the problem, and is assigning it the importance it deserves. But Teachout’s political novelty and ignorance about rural and upstate issues demand that the ticket be balanced with someone with experience and a WNY worldview.

Democrats should vote Teachout/Hochul on September 9th. 

16 comments

  • I’d generally agree with your assessment of Teachout vs. Cuomo, and the importance of putting the issue of corruption front and center. I’m not that comfortable with Kathy Hochul, however. If this were Caesar’s Rome, and Kathy was in it, the phrase might have been “Et tu Kathy?” as Julius rolls down the stairs.

  • Is Alfred E. Neuman still running?

  • I think I can safely say that it is a given that Cuomo will win. That being the case, Democrats have a greater opportunity to send a message of disgust to Cuomo by choosing Wu as the Lieutenant Governor candidate. The added bonus would be severely limiting Cuomo’s chances for a White House run. When November rolls around, Democrats could wisely refuse to pull the lever for Cuomo/Teachout/Houchul/Wu, but that is about as likely as hell freezing over.

  • Hochul is a very talented politician, winning county wide in Erie as a democrat (something, that should be easy with the enrollment advantage, but isn’t) and especially winning, and then narrowly losing in very republican heavy congressional seat. Should she win Tuesday, I fully expect to see her become Governor and Senator at some point down the line.

    Her and her husband are bit too nakedly ambitious and connected for my taste, though, and I plan on voting Wu(and Teachout) in the primary. Also: lol at the idea that Wu is some left wing extremist.

    • Governor & senator? not likely as she has no name recognition downstate…..that could change somewhat if she wins but it would still be a stretch as more widely known and moneyed candidates out of NYC will eventually appear …..

      • I meant to say Governor or Senator. While many states have a history of sending Governors to the senate, New York hasn’t done so since the 1950’s.

        Our current junior Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, also hails from upstate, and did not receive a credible (harold ford, lol) primary challenge after being appointed. Other than the Governor, the only statewide office more prominent than Lt Governor is probably the Attorney General. Hochul will be in a strong position, and will have the state party behind her.

  • Hochul gets credit for being better than she actually is because she was
    actually, mostly, better than the two people who occupied the seat–
    which is the most Republican seat in the state. Tom Reynolds is a
    hissing and a byword, and Chris Lee was a nuthin’ muffin who quit
    because he got busted soliciting a woman on Craigslist, and posting
    shirtless selfies. A look at her history, however, reveals her as about
    as blue a Blue Dog as a democrat can be. After making her bones in the
    office of John LaFalce (no jewel, but a story for another day) Hochul
    then went on to run the Erie County Clerk’s office, a non-ideological
    position where she opposed the issuing of driver’s licenses to
    undocumented immigrants. Then she ran for Congress, in a special
    election in the most Republican district in New York State. She won– a
    big upset, and was certainly better than
    Reynolds, or Lee, although she voted to support bills that required
    states to recognize the concealed weapons permits of other states, and
    supported hydraulic fracturing. I suppose I could forgive the LaFalce
    connection, but the rest are deal breakers for me. Beloved? No, beloved
    politicians get re-elected. Hochul– whose husband, by the way, is US
    Attorney for WNY— was a pandering pick by Andy, who wanted someone on
    his ticket from the only county in the state that he didn’t carry last
    time. I’d rate him a longshot in Erie County this time too. Buffalo is a
    lot more liberal than NY 26, where Hochul won, once. The sense I’m
    getting is that there will be a fair turnout, and a fair number of
    protest voters.

  • “Imagine how good it would be for him to run for national office at some future date…”

    I’d first have to imagine that the last four years of Cuomo’s governance didn’t happen. I no longer want Cuomo to run for President. There are better people to for that job.

    “”the Teachout/Wu ticket is focused on issues that matter only to the 5 boroughs of New York City”

    The idea that WNY issues are so vastly different from NYC issues is a perception created from being miles away from Wall Street and Midtown and not actually seeing how the game of politics/business works. Or not actually seeing the height of wealth and political influence. There is no representation in WNY of the height of wealth and political influence.

    And how are issues like Common Core, paid maternity leave, corporate mega-mergers/net neutrality, fracking or government corruption unique to the five boroughs?

    On Hochul:

    She is a profoundly flawed candidate. Nice lady but profoundly flawed candidate. I understand that she’s from Buffalo and thats all that matters to some. For me, I see voting as hiring someone for a job. I would hire Wu over Hochul. He’s smarter, more informed on issues and has explicitly called out the kick-back crony culture of NYState and Cuomo. Hochul is too weak to stand up to anything, let alone Cuomo. She can’t even be trusted to debate the issues on television. She’s just a token WNYer on the ticket. Thats quite obvious.

    Buffalo is falling right into Cuomo’s game of favors. The Buffalo Billion was a favor, not good governance(thats why it has a name like a lottery game), and now Buffalo feels the need to return the favor. Thats exactly how the game works. I do you a favor, now you do me favor. Thats the Cuomo game. Hochul is just a pawn and Buffalo is too eager to be in good graces with the establishment of New York State to exit the game. Paladino was a complete embarrassment, but come on guys, find SOMEONE in WNY that is 1.liberal, 2. extremely smart and 3. honest to run for statewide office.

  • Additionally, another reason I’m not voting for Hochul or Cuomo is because they refused to engage in a debate of the issues. Hochuls tweeted photos of her shaking hands with seniors is no substitute for a debate. This is a fundamental problem that offends me as a small “d” democrat. We should vote for people based on their ideas and their command of the issues.

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