Back on January 28, 2021, Letitia James, New York State Attorney General released a blistering report documenting the Cuomo administration’s undercount of nursing home deaths as a result of Covid-19. Recall that Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a directive requiring nursing homes to admit Covid infected patients into their facilities.
Now it turns out that a top aid to the governor, one Melissa DeRosa, admitted in a conference call with Democratic lawmakers that the Cuomo administration deliberately covered up the real numbers. They did so, she confessed, to spare the Governor political accountability. It turns out the reported numbers were off by at least 50%.
Chris Cillizza, in a piece for CNN describes this as a “stunning admission.” He goes on to write: “This is only the latest bit of evidence that suggests the Cuomo administration may not have dealt as effectively with the coronavirus pandemic as was initially believed.”
Perhaps we should begin by asking a few questions, like for instance: Who, exactly was “stunned” by the substance of the admission and why? It was perfectly obvious to roughly everyone but the adoring press corp / fan club that the Cuomo administration has long been a combination of mendacity and incompetence.
Then there is Andrew Cuomo himself, Man of Science. Just 2 weeks ago the NY Times reported that over the last 6 months, 9 top level health officials in NY State resigned—because of the Governor’s behavior in handling the pandemic. Those resignations included the deputy commissioner for public health in NY, the director of the bureau for communicable disease control, the medical director for epidemiology and the state epidemiologist.
The Times quoted Mr. Cuomo as follows. “When I say ‘experts’ in air quotes, it sounds like I’m saying I don’t really trust the experts,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said of pandemic policies. “Because I don’t.” Saint Andrew sounds positively Trumpian here, and not for the first time.
To that, add Cillizza’s risible assertion (passive voice naturally) that Cuomo may not have been as effective as previously believed. Which begs the question, (again excepting the rubes in the press corp) who thought that Cuomo was effective in the first place?
And now just as day follows night, we have the predictable feigned outrage and calls for Cuomo’s resignation. Again the obvious question: Why? This is what the supposedly enlightened electorate voted for. Is there anybody even dimly aware of how progressive politics actually works in practice who is truly surprised by any of this?
New York State and New Jersey with its similarly progressive policies have been far and away the leaders in the Covid death count from the very beginning. And all the while the press deflected and focused on the supposed horror show in Florida where the designated villain, Governor Ron DeSantis did not shut everything down, Cuomo style.
Consider the numbers. New Jersey (pop 8.9 million) the fatality-rate leader as of February 12, has a death rate of 251 per 100,000. New York (second place, pop 19.4 million) has a death rate of 231 per 100,000. Florida (pop 21.5 million) is #25 with a death rate of 132 per million, about 57% of New York’s. Now consider that the median age of Florida (state rank #5) is 42.2 and New York’s (state rank #22) median age is 39. And consider that over 20% of Florida’s population is over 65, and a clear picture begins to emerge about where policy successes and failures lie.
It would be bad enough if this episode could be described as just that. A singular bad episode. But that is, unfortunately, not the case. A similar story can be told about the public schools, especially in the deep blue states, which are owned and operated by the teachers unions. Which in turn own the Democratic Party.
Before this is all over, the public schools in the big cities, virtually all of which are controlled by Democratic machine politics, will have been mostly closed to in-class instruction for the better part of 2 years thanks to the teachers unions. Upper middle class parents will continue to abandon the public schools in droves and send their kids to private and parochial schools where they will actually learn. The rest will fall further behind.
The management of big city police departments tells a similar story. Since the Black Lives Matter protests (and riots) over the summer, progressive politicians have, for the most part, supported various versions of the “defund the police” drive. All of which has been accompanied by soaring murder rates especially in inner cities as the police back off.
To accompany this we have the spectacle of all-white residents in well-to-do neighborhoods decorating their houses with BLM flags, knowing full well they will be protected by the police in the unlikely event they are needed. And we have upper middle class white college kids screaming “racist” at minority police officers before heading back to their fully protected dorms.
Progressives will, of course, deflect. They will launch into a typically mindless diatribe about the “structural racism” that is really to blame. All of which is hard to take seriously since it is progressives and liberals (now virtually indistinguishable) who have been running the show for decades in the big cities where the problems are manifest. Are they implicitly confessing that liberals and progressives are irredeemably racist?
Which is not to deny that we have structural problems that should be dealt with. The root of the structural problem is…Progressivism, with its contempt for individualism and individual rights; its command-and-control authoritarianism, its preference for bureaucratic control over civil society, its baked in corruption and its inevitable adoption of cancel culture.
That is the structural problem that must be dealt with first. The rest comes later.