• Daniel Ethan Finneran

Cuomo Confronts Another Accuser, Again

Governor Andrew Cuomo, the same man upon whom, in hindsight, the creepy nickname, “Love Gov” was perhaps prematurely bestowed, the same symbol of Jovian virility and gubernatorial strength by whom the craze of “Cuomo-sexualism” was, by the amorous encouragement of the daytime television host, Ellen DeGeneres, first aroused and then spread, has been credibly accused, for the third time and by a third woman, of sexual harassment.

As it currently stands, there’s a full triumvirate, a dauntless band of three women by whom the beleaguered, sullied, though not yet discernibly repentant Governor of New York has been charged. In order of their appearance—in time, though doubtless not in beauty—they are Lindsey Boylan, Charlotte Bennett, and Anna Ruch.

The first, Boylan, was a deputy secretary for economic development in Cuomo’s administration from 2015 till 2018. She divulged her experience with the governor on the literary site, Medium. The second, Bennett, was an entry-level assistant to Cuomo during the year 2019. Themes similar to those found in the earlier Medium post persisted. The third and the youngest, Ruch, worked as a photographer in the Obama White House during the erstwhile president’s second term.

Given the rapidity of the shocking revelations with which, in the brief course of two weeks, these three women have come forward, one wouldn’t be surprised if more were to follow. Time, as we know, will cast a light on the dark suspicions that more women still “wait in the wings”, so to speak, and are anxious to acquaint us with their stories, their “lived experiences”, and their terribly difficult “truths”. We’ll see, though, for now, if the combined weight of Boylan’s, Bennett’s, and Ruch’s feminine power, along with the Left’s waning allegiance to the forgotten cause of #MeToo, will prove sufficiently strong in the effort to remove from office so lecherous and disreputable a man.

Admittedly, Cuomo’s dethronement, at this point, shows little promise of success. Though his favorability rating has taken a hit in the past two months, its descent is by no means fatal. Mind you, for well-neigh an entire year, Governor Cuomo was celebrated by every influential voice as the paragon of competence and the exemplar of tact. He was, as we were told, day after day, and by the most reliable of sources, the one of our fifty governors from whom the other forty-nine should take their example. He was said to be the sole, clear-eyed statesman in a land of conservative Cyclopes and benighted brutes, the candid yet empathic politician to whom we all should turn when in need of truth, information, succor, and strength.

The media, buoyed by his ascent, hung on his every utterance. They applauded his every move and hitched their destiny to his purported ability. They grasped onto the heels of this soaring Icarus, and felt not the wax-melting heat of the sun. They stopped at nothing to extol his virtues, especially when contrasted to the vices of their insufferable bête noire, President Trump.

It’s no wonder, then, that there lingers in the imagination of the people in this country a certain image of the governor of which they can’t be readily disabused. He was, after all, elevated to the stature of something near a deity in the public mind, a higher being to whom every celebrity (from Robert De Niro, to Billy Crystal, to Ben Stiller and Spike Lee) toasted his congratulations and heartfelt thanks. New Yorkers, it would seem, retain—despite every nursing home death and sexual perversion—a strange and roseate image of their beloved rapscallion. There is, so far as I can tell, no swelling tide by his constituents pushing him toward a recall (as is happening to Governor Newsom in California), nor a whisper from within the bowels of the governor’s mansion quietly suggesting that he resign.

In a statement untouched by the gentler tones of contrition, Cuomo asserted that he “never touched anyone inappropriately”, despite the accompanying image of him grasping Miss Ruch’s petrified and retreating face. He continued to say that he “never knew at the time that he was making anyone feel uncomfortable”, perhaps a confession of his obliviousness to the facial contortions of being nonplussed in his grasp. That he might ever act in such a way as to make someone feel uncomfortable would be nothing short of “unintentional”, but have we not been conditioned to reply that intentions matter not?

It appears, by these changing standards, we’re no longer expected to be #MeToo absolutists. We can forgo, it seems, our prior commitment to what was, frankly, an unsustainable rule. As the governor made clear, “all women” aren’t, in fact, universally to be believed—only some, and only so long as their stories are neither too deleterious nor inopportune to a governor relishing the summit of his career. Thus, “believe all women” has somewhat sheepishly devolved into “hear all women”, which has in turn become “selectively, partially listen to some women, so long as the occasion permits”.

Despite the fact that most rational people’s taste for Cuomo has soured, he appears equipped to endure the mounting scandals beneath which a lesser man would be buried. Frankly, if true, they’re the less disquieting of his misdeeds. If he can’t be castigated for having sealed the collective fate of thousands of nursing home residents, and if he can’t be punished for having obfuscated the actual number of their deaths, and if he can’t be recalled for having obstructed a federal investigation into the enormity of his misbehavior, should we expect his downfall to come at the hands of three women, a trio off of whom he couldn’t help but keep his hands?

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Success, ‘tis said, yet more success begets– On the prosperous rains ever more profits. So reads the adage of the Gospel’s Jew: The iron law, the Effect of Matthew. “To him who has much, more will be