If Gary Hart Had Andrew Cuomo’s Tenacity He Might Have Become President

Gary Hart was the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president when his affair with actress Donna Rice was revealed.

Just days later, he pulled the plug on his presidential campaign. The scandal bringing to an end his political aspirations.

But imagine if, when challenged, Hart employed the same tactic as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and simply said, “ I’m not going anywhere darling.”

Unlike Hart, Cuomo isn’t under fire for one scandal. But now, three.

In addition to claims of sexual harassment and criticism of his permitting COVID patients to be transferred from hospitals to nursing homes, Cuomo is now being accused of directing state officials to give preferential COVID testing treatment in the early days of the pandemic to his family members. Including his brother, Chris, who is an anchor on CNN.

Cuomo administration officials are denying that any kin of the governor received preferential treatment. But to someone with less resolve, like Hart, any one of the three scandals would be enough to derail one’s political career.

To be sure, Cuomo’s not the first governor to push back on calls to resign. In 2019 Virginia’s Ralph Northam successfully resisted calls for him to step down after acknowledging that a photo in a medical school yearbook of a student in blackface and another of a student in a KKK hood were, indeed, pictures of him.

But this latest allegation can’t possibly be viewed by Cuomo as welcome news. All three scandals serve as distractions as he faces some important decisions.

Among them, whether to further relieve COVID restrictions.

New York City is in dire need of a return of entertainment and tourism. But caution flags are up. Raised by Mayor Bill de Blasio and others. Who are worried that new variants may result in another surge.

And the ink is just now drying on legislation that’s been put on Cuomo’s desk. It repeals immunity granted to hospitals and nursing homes during the peak of the pandemic. It cleared the state Senate 63–0. Now we wait to see if Cuomo will sign it into law. John Dalli, co-chair of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association’s Nursing Home Committee is among those urging Cuomo to quickly add his signature. “If a nursing home cannot be held responsible for being negligent, resident’s lives are at risk,” he argues.

Its enactment, of course, won’t bring back the estimated 15,000 nursing home patients who died of the COVID in New York state. But it’s perhaps a timely reminder that the nursing home deaths should overshadow the other accusations that are dogging Cuomo.

Originally published at https://garybaumgarten.substack.com.

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