Andrew Cuomo stood baying on the moon in Albany Tuesday, and it was solely two o’clock within the afternoon.
New York’s leather-lunged governor folded his annual funds message into his State of the State Address, belting it out to the primary secure Democratic-controlled Legislature in 30 years — together with the gaggle of opportunity-seekers, advantage-takers and uncategorized hangers-on all the time discovered at such occasions.
Cuomo usually confuses excessive vocal quantity with seriousness of function — to say nothing of precise statesmanship — and Tuesday was simply one other ration of more-of-the-same.
That is, a cacophonous fog of progressive platitudes, florid rhetoric and critically conflicted aims. Not that it wasn’t well-received.
The applause was loud and sustained. His viewers clearly noticed many alternatives within the speech — billions in new spending and re-ordered, extremely palatable left-wing coverage priorities — and appeared well-motivated to take them.
And anyone anticipating the ache that all the time accompanies severe reform certainly was dissatisfied — suggesting that for all his guarantees of a brand new day, the sophisticates he was addressing knew higher.
Regarding coverage, Cuomo:
- Promised carloads of new money for MTA and different infrastructure renewal, however particularly dominated out the work-rule reforms that might guarantee true worth for the cash. Indeed, he promised to increase these guidelines to at present exempt reconstruction initiatives statewide — one thing he referred to as half of a “progressive labor-union agenda.”
- Said he’ll bathe new cash on the state’s public faculties — by no means thoughts that per-pupil spending in New York is the best in America — whereas asking nothing in the way in which of teacher-evaluation reforms or pupil testing-regimen overhauls.
- Pledged to proceed New York’s reign because the nation’s premier per-patient public-health spender — with not a peep about modifications that might anger the unions that so vigorously supported him via final fall’s reelection marketing campaign.
All in all, if that’s not big-ticket business-as-usual, there’s no such factor.
As for brand new coverage prescriptions, Cuomo:
- Proposed escalating the state’s efforts to fight opioid abuse with out saying a phrase about extra vigorous anti-drug legislation enforcement efforts, and he truly bragged about closing prisons. He additionally desires to legalize marijuana on the grounds that many New Yorkers don’t obey present legal guidelines anyway. Maybe there’s a case for that, although presumably, the rationale would finally apply to the state’s opioid-consuming neighborhood and its suppliers. (Maybe extra on that in subsequent yr’s message?)
- Went on at size about New York City-centric points, together with congestion-pricing — maybe one other concept whose time has come — however didn’t supply a lot in the way in which of particulars. Maybe that’s as a result of it’s all the time been unacceptable to outer-borough lawmakers — and, in any case, there may be newly discovered legislative comity to be preserved.
- And touched in passing on a variety of hot-button progressive points — the so-called Dream Act, immigration usually, abortion rights and so-on — predictably providing nothing that deviated from left-wing acquired knowledge.
It wasn’t till deep into the tackle that he received round to “ethics reform” and, surprisingly, his nostril didn’t develop.
Cuomo termed New York’s ethics turmoil over the previous a number of years “a disappointment” — it certainly should have been — however from his phrases nobody would guess that his administration was the star about which the scandals revolved.
Just let or not it’s famous that his personal principal adviser (and shut household good friend) is headed for jail together with different administration honchos; that federal gumshoes are nonetheless probing his administration — and that his personal marketing campaign fund-raisers have harvested tens of tens of millions from sources that he now desires to close down.
If there have been a hypocrisy corridor of fame, he’d be in it.
The late Gov. Mario Cuomo all the time termed his annual official tackle the poetry of authorities, and his budgets its prose. It was a delicate distinction, which he burnished to good, typically charming, impact.
Andrew Cuomo, who combined the messages Tuesday, merely doesn’t have the command of rhetoric to drag that off.
Tuesday he got here, he shouted and he persuaded only a few. The already satisfied beloved it. Again, they noticed alternatives.
Bob McManus is a contributing editor of City Journal.