Let’s keep our eye on the prize, people.
The health and safety of the citizens.
The latest controversy over Gov. Andrew Cuomo with regard to how he treats people and whether he jumped the gun on taking credit for conquering the coronavirus are all distractions to the real issues facing the state’s management of the crisis.
The side issues are important in that they provide some insight into the man who claims exclusive control over the state’s coronavirus response. And they demonstrate what a lot of people already know: that if you cross the governor, he won’t let you get off easy.
But the real issue on which we should be focusing is whether the governor mismanaged the crisis, particularly the nursing home situation, and whether the Legislature should allow him to continue to hold exclusive authority over the state’s response in light of the new information.
On Wednesday, several news organizations reported that the governor recently called up Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim late one night and gave him an earful for sharply criticizing the governor over his handling of the crisis. The governor piled on on Wednesday, accusing the assemblyman of impropriety regarding his efforts to reform the nail-salon industry.
The message: Don’t cross Cuomo.
It’s a message that many people in the governor’s path experience on a near-daily basis. He’s powerful and intimidating, and he wants you to know it so you’ll fall in line and do what he wants.
Not to excuse his belligerence, but isn’t that what most powerful politicians do in one way or another?
Here’s another distraction. The other day, some state legislators, including Schoharie Assemblyman Chris Tague, urged the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to rescind the Emmy award the governor received for his popular TV updates in the early part of the crisis. Take away his Emmy? Please. Who cares if he got Emmy or not? Move on.
The governor’s handling of the crisis is the real issue — the good and the bad.
It’s true, he bungled the nursing home situation with some questionable policies, and that resulted in people losing their lives. And he did try to hide his actions by obfuscating the facts of the situation.
But also remember, New York was at one time the epicenter of the nation’s covid outbreak simply by virtue of its location and as the center for international travel. In a few short months, due in large part to the governor’s response, the state’s situation vastly improved and New York became a model for the rest of the nation. Agree with his policies or not, the governor’s actions saved many lives.
The real questions now are whether his actions regarding the nursing homes are worthy of further punishment by state and federal officials, and whether the governor should continue to wield the power to manage the outbreak from here on out.
The goal of both these outcomes should be to ensure the safety and health of the residents of New York. That’s the prize.
Critics should not lose sight of that.