New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made some notable comments about opponents of his showpiece gun control law, known as thect.
“The Republican Party candidates are running against thect—it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are. ”
A clarification posted at the Governor’s web site, not further attributed, claims he meant only to insult and expel representatives of conservatives, not conservatives themselves. A later posting, attributed to Mylan Denerstein, the Governor’s Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice (sic), takes the form of an open letter to Frederic Dicker, a columnist at the New York Post and local talk show host. She characterizes Mr. Dicker as an extreme conservative—two words never far apart in official missives—who maliciously misrepresented Cuomo’s words with the intent of causing mischief in an election year.
As odious as the prospect is, one must understand New York to make sense of all this. For purposes of governance, New York State is rightly understood to mean New York City. Historically, the Governor administers that part of New York City which lies outside the City’s direct municiple authority, called the “state”, which he governs largely at the pleasure of the Mayor. The “state” legislature doesn’t decide, it disseminates. Albany is a sort of anteroom to hizzoner, staffed with mayoral oracles, his devoted solicitors, his augurs—specialists in the reading of pigeon entrails, and members of his Greek chorus. There are some others, elected non-entities of no concern to this narrative.
It’s an arrangement common in the northeast. Boston is Massachusetts, Hartford is Connecticut, and so forth. Philadelphia is an exception. At a fifth the size of New York, it’s too small to throw its weight around in a place as large as Pennsylvania—it’s the same size as England, and Philadelphia is free-falling too openly toward Detroitdom—or more closely: Camdendom—for its mayor to be a commanding, or even wholly credible presence in Harrisburg. The city’s astonishing corruption all but displaced politics long ago, or any demand for it, making it weaker in the General Assembly than it might otherwise be. Recall it was in Philadelphia the Black Panthers mounted an armed presence at the polls and got away with it. The rest of the state thinks of it as Atlanta-on-the-Delaware.
Mayor Nutter is as amusing and arbitrary as any Detroit mayor. In one pratfall, he illegally evicted the Boy Scouts of America from their headquarters to amuse the city’s gays. In the mayor’s defense, he’s an improvement over his comedic predecessor , at the time voted one of the three worst big-city mayors in the United States. Main Line old money still merits attention but less than one would imagine, yes, Philadelphia’s center of gravity has wandered and weakened that much.
The wave of righteous protest from Lesser New York over Cuomo’s outrages are entertaining, even instructional, but without consequence. Technically, New Yorkers outside the city walls have representation at the state level but they don’t influence legislation in any measurable way. They’re a ticketed audience with heckling rights. The other cities in New York were captured in medieval vassalage long ago, and votes from the rest of the “state” have little more impact than absentee ballots or precinct recounts, so colossal is the City. Floor votes merely codify decisions made elsewhere, and aside from the naming of bridges and the like, ‘elsewhere’ means the City. What Cuomo calls “moderate Republicans” would qualify as committed Marxists elsewhere. The governor is quite free to rebuke and dismiss dissenters and their annoying notions, however compelling.
Both Lesser New York and the City are hemorrhaging productive populace but the City is bulking up with busloads of entitlement-eligible Diversity requiring little else from them than managing their loyalty and “unmet needs”. The new Mayor, Bill de Blasio, is an Obama-like figure, inexperienced and inept but adored by the Manhattan militants. He majored in Metropolitan Studies, held fundraisers for the Sandinistas, volunteered as a bandage-roller in revolutionary Nicaragua, organized community “outreaches”, passed special privilege laws for the usual suspects and managed Hillary Clinton’s senate campaign, more a favor than arduous duty. De Blasio’s base consists of fern bar commandos, clueless second-languagers, campus activists, The Diversity and holders of taxi medallions who resent horse drawn tourist carriages. In realpolitik terms he’s the near equivalent of a power vacuum.
His tenure appears designed to fail. Look for de Blasio to be vigorously supported with friendly fire at his first real tight spot. Why? There’s an opportunity in all this for Governor Cuomo to seize actual governorship rather than remain the lonely prefect of its burdensome and declasse fiefdom. With a blivot stumbling around City Hall looking for the men’s room, Cuomo sees a main chance to be the Pepin the Short of the Cuomo dynasty. This necessarily means outshining the mayor and skimming the City’s power structure. He has the chops to do it, the connections to make it stick and the finesse to make a down’n dirty coup look like leading by acclaim.
The style of both men is ‘shock and awe’, meaning serial deployment of weaponized ideology. But Cuomo has the brass to escalate before his opponent does and a willingness to crater the prostrate remains of Lesser New York without a thought. When asked about Cuomo’s outburst, de Blasio took a “what he said” position. It looks feeble. It also looks feeble for him to visit Mayor Rahm of Chicago looking for tips on mayoring. Meanwhile, a ways down the yellow brick road,is curious to see which of these two will pull the sword from the stone and fricassee the other. Put your money on Cuomo, we may be seeing another Bill Clinton in the making.