Am I awake?
NEWS: Gov. Andrew Cuomo will publish a book titled "American Crisis" on Oct. 13 that details his experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. pic.twitter.com/Vsk4vhQQUV
— Dan Clark (@DanClarkReports) August 18, 2020
“A powerful testament to true leadership in times of extreme crisis,” says Random House of the forthcoming book.
Did Cuomo write about Mike DeWine?
This guy underperformed Bill de Blasio in handling New York’s outbreak. Imagine the reaction on both the left and the right if de Blasio farted out a book-length love letter to his own leadership on COVID.
The pandemic’s not even over. It might be over for NYC but it’s almost certainly not over for New York State. The book’s set for release on October 13; imagine if, the day it drops, Cuomo decides he needs to shut down the schools because his reopening plan ended up seeding a massive new outbreak.
I guess he can always address that in the sequel to this book, “American Crisis II: How I Defeated The Second Wave Of COVID That I Started.”
To this day, he can’t demonstrate one of the most basic functions of good leadership, which is accountability. Ask him about his lethal deficiencies in moving too slowly early on to shut down the state or his infamous policy of sending infected residents back into nursing homes and he’ll put up smokescreens endlessly. Old people are gonna die no matter what, you know. And it’s really the feds’ fault for not telling Cuomo that the virus was coming in from Europe. And it’s really Trump’s fault for not managing the national response better.
Those themes recurred in his DNC speech last night, as you’ll see below. At one point Cuomo described SARS-CoV-2 as the “European virus,” alluding to his claim that he had no idea visitors from Europe were seeding an outbreak in NYC in February and early March even though Italy’s outbreak was headline news at the time. “The virus had been attacking us for months before they even knew it was here,” he said at another point of the feds, a nod at the idea that they’re to blame for New York’s apocalypse. But the feds couldn’t have stopped him from ordering a precautionary quarantine of European visitors to New York early on, before Trump banned travel from Europe.
And the feds sure as hell didn’t force his nursing-home policy on him, or demand that he twiddle his thumbs for weeks in March as the virus spread throughout NYC.
“In many ways COVID is just a metaphor,” he said, adding later that “Our way worked, and it was beautiful.” His “way” was to allow unchecked exponential growth of the virus across the country’s biggest city, collect all the bodies, then declare victory once the spread burned itself out via herd immunity. This guy really does view New York’s COVID experience as some sort of fond memory, though, a moment when the city and the state came together as a community or whatever. Remember, he’s already produced a weird memento of it. His book will be a second.
“[T]hank you for your leadership and the example you’ve set for all Americans during this pandemic,” said Joe Biden in a tweet aimed at Cuomo this morning. If President Joe intends to rely on Cuomo for COVID advice, we actually might be safer with Trump.
There’s a tiny bit of good news, though. Criticizing Cuomo has been almost exclusively a right-wing pastime over the past five months but I’m seeing some grumbling about his convention cameo even among liberals this morning. “Cuomo is perhaps the single least credible person in the entire country to make this criticism” that the federal COVID response was incompetent, said Ryan Cooper at The Week, calling Cuomo’s early performance a “world-historical catastrophe” and concluding, “In a sense, Governor Cuomo was right to say, ‘government matters and leadership matters.’ His record is an object lesson in what happens when that job is done poorly.” At the Atlantic, Russell Berman’s also tired of the myth of Cuomo as some Churchill of the pandemic:
“Beautiful” is an odd way to describe a virus that has killed more than 25,000 New Yorkers, or about 15 percent of the total number of Americans who have died from COVID-19. But Cuomo has long been a curious leader for Democrats to hold up as an emblem of successful leadership during the pandemic: He has somehow presided over the worst and deadliest coronavirus outbreak in the country while eluding the widespread criticism that has surrounded both President Donald Trump and New York City’s Democratic mayor, Bill de Blasio…
Cuomo does have a good story to tell about New York’s stabilization and recovery—health-wise, if not yet economically—over the past few months. But can a finally flattened curve really count as a success when the initial spike was so severe, so deadly, and so preventable?
Allowing himself to be featured at the convention as the party’s most authoritative voice on COVID was a case of overreach, enough so that even sympathetic commentators felt obliged to criticize him for it. Cuomo putting out a book while the pandemic is still raging will alienate people further. The Cuomo myth is slowly fading, undone by his own arrogance. I wouldn’t bet against him in a primary in New York right now, but give it another year. Even New Yorkers’ patience with him isn’t limitless.