What’s Next for the Fallen Political Star?
8/10/21 – – Stating that, “The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced his resignation from the office he’s held for the last 10 years. The embattled former political star promised a seamless transition of his authority over the next two weeks to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who will become the first woman to lead the Empire State.
Just one year ago, it seemed like Cuomo’s future could not have been brighter.
Having just published a critically acclaimed book on leadership and won an Emmy Award for his compelling daily briefings during the coronavirus pandemic, he was considered a shoo-in for a fourth term in Albany and a likely candidate for President of the United States – the office to which his late father Mario Cuomo aspired but could never reach.
Today, it’s hard to think how Andrew’s future could be any more challenging.
Sacrificing his office, a drastic move he had to make, is unlikely to appease Republicans or Democrats in the NY State House well underway with an impeachment investigation probing not only the charges of sexual harassment brought by 11 women (and counting), but also reviewing the deadly mishandling of nursing home patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and the improper use of government resources to write his book. As a private citizen, he could be facing criminal charges for sexual assault and will probably be battling multiple civil complaints in court – potentially a very expensive proposition.
There are many reasons Cuomo finds himself with no leverage or good options.
So far, the evidence revealed in public by New York Attorney General Letitia James (reportedly considering a run for Governor) and others suggests he’s guilty on all counts. That’s never a good thing when you’re dealing with a crisis or court case.
His defense has been arrogant and reluctantly apologetic.
And it appears that as powerful as he was while in office, the loyalty of those around him was based primarily on fear. Allies disappear fast when a bully losses his or her platform. Remember in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy liquefies the Wicked Witch of The West? Even the seemingly devoted (and seriously scary) flying monkeys were happy!
Hopefully Governor Cuomo, who like all Americans is entitled to due process and the assumption of innocence, has (and can afford) good lawyers. His efforts now should be in the court of law. He has already lost in the court of public opinion.
As for his future prospects? He’ll never be a viable candidate for public office again. But, in a few years a more humble Andrew Cuomo will be able to share some fascinating experiences in a book that, unlike his dishonest treatise on leadership, may be well worth reading.