From The Right: Hochul has political tin ear

From The Right: Hochul has political tin ear
George Marlin

When Kathy Hochul was sworn in as governor in August 2021, she was not prepared to assume that office.

That was by design. Andrew Cuomo, like his father, preferred inexperienced political nobodies as their lieutenant governors.


Mario Cuomo learned during his tenure as lieutenant governor that if the boss, in his case Gov. Hugh Carey, doesn’t care what you do, the lieutenant governor can travel the state and build a political network.

Between 1979 and 1981, that’s exactly what Mario did. He spent lots of time unearthing what was on the minds of upstate legislators and studying the issues that mattered to their constituents. He also organized, in every county, a cadre of Democrats loyal to him.

In 1982, his efforts paid off. He handily beat Mayor Ed Koch in the Democratic primary for governor.

The lesson the Cuomos took from that experience: never name a lieutenant governor who could pose a threat.

That is why Kathy Hochul, a minor official from Buffalo, became Andrew’s lieutenant governor.

Serving as governor, Hochul has proven why she was chosen by Andrew: She has a political tin ear and is a weak executive.

In early 2022, for example, Hochul permitted Albany legislators to walk all over her during the budget negotiations. This happened despite the fact that the governor has primary responsibility for shaping the state’s financial policies with limited legislative meddling.

But Hochul failed to utilize that power and signed off on a bloated $220 billion budget that will haunt her and the taxpayers for the next four years.

Hochul may have won the November 2022 election, but she ran the most inept gubernatorial campaign in modern memory.

Spending a record-breaking $60 million, she barely won in a deep blue state.

Hochul failed to grasp that crime, not abortion, was the key campaign issue. She was blind to the facts that New Yorkers were afraid to walk in their neighborhoods or to travel on mass transportation.

And she refuses to believe, to this day, that Albany’s cashless bail reform has contributed to the surge in crime—despite the evidence.

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley recently noted that “last year 327 career criminals were responsible for 30% of New York City’s 22,000 shoplifting arrests….” Over 70% of those criminals are still on the streets this month because the bail reform legislation protects most shoplifting suspects “from pretrial detention and judges aren’t permitted to consider a defendant’s danger to the community.”

Here’s another beaut: In December, the state Legislature held a lame-duck session to approve a 29% pay increase for themselves.

With the median income of New Yorkers at $42,308, the part-time legislators will now be paid a whopping $142,000 annually.

The governor not only signed off on this ludicrous proposal, but she failed to get anything in return.

Even her hapless Republican predecessor, Gov. George Pataki, effectively traded in 1998 with the Democratic-controlled Assembly before agreeing to approve a raise for legislators.

He got charter schools despite the fierce opposition of the powerful teachers’ unions.

Pataki proved legislators will agree to most anything to further line their pockets.

Worse yet has been Hochul’s handling of her nomination of Hector La Salle to be chief judge of the Court of Appeals—the state’s highest tribunal.

The eminently qualified candidate was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was purposely stacked with radical leftists.

This happenstance exposed the governor as an incompetent political chump.

Govs. Roosevelt, Dewey, Rockefeller, Carey, and the Cuomos would have ruthlessly exercised the immense powers of their office to get their nominees approved.

But not Gov. Hochul.

New York is facing a fiscal and economic crisis. Years of reckless spending and excessive taxing is catching up.

And if Hochul permits Albany radicals to continue running roughshod over her, they will destroy the state’s tax base, drive millions more to Florida and Texas and push the Empire State into financial insolvency.

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