Two Faces Of Andrew Cuomo: Not The Answer For Democrats

05/01/2017 06:46 am ET Updated May 02, 2017

I can’t tell if the Democrats are drooling in anticipation at the prospects of defeating an enfeebled Donald Trump infested Republican Party in 2018 and 2020, or are terrified that Trump and the Republicans will again defeat them despite governmental incompetence and contempt for their own voters.

The Democratic Party seems incapable of learning from past mistakes. Jimmy Carter (1980), Walter Mondale (1984), Michael Dukakis (1988), Al Gore (2000), John Kerry (2004), and Hillary Clinton (2016) ran the same losing campaign with the same unappealing slogan: “I’m smarter; I’m more experienced; Vote for me.”

Two faces of Andrew Cuomo
The Nation, March 20, 2013
Two faces of Andrew Cuomo

If a reality-show television huckster could get elected President of the United States, why not a two-faced super-villain. I don’t mean Harvey Dent, the criminal mastermind who battles Batman for control over Gotham City. This Two-Face is none other than New York’s pseudo-Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo, / aka / Andy Two-Face.

When Cuomo looks left he seems to be a progressive. Raise the minimum wage, ban fracking, bar assault weapons, waive college tuition for students from low-income families, protect Roe v. Wade, and legalize same-sex marriage. After five years in office, Cuomo has decided the state infrastructure needs rebuilding and that “hate speech” is “un-American.”

Look right, Cuomo’s a Trump Republican, just as nasty but with a longer attention span. He cut public spending and taxes on the wealthy and blacklisted groups that disagree with his policies. His upstate New York development plan fueled by tax write-offs for wealthy corporations, and promoted with tens of millions of state taxpayer dollars, produced only 408 jobs in two years.

Andy sells whatever he thinks you want.
Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News
Andy sells whatever he thinks you want.

In his latest budget, Andy Two-Face promises to boost state aid to schools by $1.1 billion. At first glance, it looks like Andy’s liberal face is in control, except New York State is actually under a court order to increase funding to urban minority school districts by $7 billion, a pledge Andy’s rightwing face refuses to honor and he is fighting against in the courts.

Even Progressive Andy does not seem as progressive when you take a closer look. The New York Times analyzed his highly praised Excelsior Scholarship program and found it is so flawed that most of the state’s neediest students would receive no financial benefit at all. To qualify for state tuition assistance, students must attend college full-time and be on track to graduate in two or four years depending on whether they are at a community college or a senior college. Since must poorer students have to work to support themselves and their families, and get no federal or state support for living expenses while attending school, 90% of the state’s community college students and 60% of its four-year college students would automatically be ineligible for the program. A former chancellor of the state college system dismissed the Cuomo package as a benefit to a “slice of middle-class students.”

Cuomo ran for governor as an anti-corruption candidate in 2010, and then shut down his corruption commission when the investigation got too close to him and his backers. The latest state budget contains a plethora of non-budget items, but despite a recent string of high-profile corruption cases and convictions, ethics reform was eliminated from consideration. Why aggravate deep-pocket campaign contributors when you will need them for your presidential run?

Cuomo supports the Trump/DeVos education program of school vouchers, tax deductions for contributions to private and religious schools, and expanding the number of minimally regulated charter schools. He has advocated for high-stakes testing for students, the punitive treatment of teachers, and enjoys ridiculing even nominal political allies like New York City’s Democratic mayor.

New York State high-stakes Common Core Math tests start today, Monday, May 1. In 2014, rightwing Andy Two-Face pushed a law through the state legislature that increased the importance of student test scores on teacher annual evaluations. Then in 2015, Progressive Andy agreed not to count high-stakes Common Core assessments against students or teachers, but rightwing Andy didn’t cut out the tests, and insists that they will count again for assessing students and penalizing teachers starting in 2020.

Worse, for his own political advantage, Cuomo has contributed to stalemate in the state legislature by tacit support of a breakaway group in the State Senate, elected as Democrats, but who side with Republicans top block most reform proposals including reforms Cuomo, the left-face at least, claims to want.

I have an idea for Cuomo’s 2020 Presidential campaign slogan. “Andy Two-Face: Whatever you want.”

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