T or F: SPEAKER HEASTIE has a better job than Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
True: The speaker is king. He and his people will tell you about the power of his conference. He might say, “They tell Me what to do, not the other way around.” They may say that but it is, of course, boo-shu. Look at it this way: when the final meetings on the budget occur among the major players and their staff, the principals sit down and make decisions. They can’t go back and ask at every juncture. They may well know the sentiment of their people but in the end, these leaders know the parameters of what they are allowed to do. The position of speaker is forever, unless, of course, they are indicted. As for the Senate, it’s smaller and each of the players has more power.
T or F: Sheldon Silver almost got off the hook.
True again: Donald Trump was pardoning his supporters and sycophants. I still can’t believe that he got away with it. However, in the last group that he pardoned, there was a White House appetite for pardoning Silver. The word got out and it looked like Silver would be a free man. I suspect that it was designed to protect Trump’s rear by saying, “See, we pardon Democrats, too.” This was really cruel to Shelly. At the last minute, the Trump people had major pushbacks and the decision was reversed. I’ve interviewed Shelly many, many times. He once was reported to have said that he would give campaign contributions to the DA in Manhattan and if the checks were cashed, he would know that he wasn’t going to get indicted. As Freud was reputed to have said, “There is no joke.”
T or F: Governor Cuomo has announced that the statewide COVID positivity rate is now down to 1.79 percent, the lowest since November 3.
True: With the vaccination program in full swing, the numbers are going down. Most New Yorkers are smart enough to wear masks and respect social distancing. As for Cuomo, this is where he made his mark. If he can continue to claim credit, he may well be hoping that his somewhat tarnished reputation will be restored.
T or F: It is a disgrace that Cuomo received an advance of $4 million for his book about his leadership during the pandemic.
False: When he was president, Trump was regarded by many as a disgrace. He commanded the airways. He was constantly on the cable news networks. CNN clearly decided that they needed counterpoint. Cuomo, whose brother, Chris, was a CNN star, was given the platform, which consisted of his daily New York update. It was at that point that Cuomo’s book was coming around. Try to remember that Andrew was a real star across the nation when he got his book contract. His first book had been an abject sales failure but hey, that was then and this is now. Publishers at the time thought that it couldn’t miss. It was worth the $4 million and more. Then came Cuomo’s troubles. Now people are wondering why the book was worth so much.
T or F: The press is out to get Cuomo.
Pretty much true: Collectively, the press sees its job as holding politicians accountable. They don’t get credit for saying, “Good job, well done,” to politicians. Let there be no mistake about it. There are times when the press is simply unfair. Sometimes they gather like a band of jackals and feed off political carrion together. However, the rash of accusations concerning Cuomo, especially the stories about his handling of the nursing home patients, was fair game. The stories about his treatment of women were not always even handed. The press and the politicians will not change. You can count on that.