Written September 23, 2016     

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Should Andrew Cuomo leave office over this?

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© 2016 Bob Lonsberry


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Cuomo can't survive this.

New York politics can't survive this.

A guy from India has knotted together a cord and has begun to chase the moneychangers from the Temple.

In a stunning series of indictments, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York -- Preet Bharara -- has alleged that the most intimate deputies of Andrew Cuomo were involved in bribery and fraud, and that Andrew Cuomo's signature economic development projects are larded with pay-to-play schemes that benefit his deputies and -- it goes without saying -- his campaign accounts.

We knew it was crap, all Preet Bharara did was dissect the turd.

Or more correctly, peel back the covering from the tiniest portion of the crime empire that the atlas calls New York.

Quid-pro-quo bribery, gangland lingo, jobs for relatives, crooks on retainer, criminal collusion, obstruction of trade, various extortions, and defrauding of the taxpayer.

All of a sudden the phrase "the Cuomo family" takes on a whole new meaning.

And New Yorkers wait for the dust to settle to see if anything will change. Client 9 was gone in a morning. People are uncertain if even this will shame Cuomo into leaving.

Though eventually he must.

Because these indictments show that he is either an idiot or a crook, and neither is well suited to be a governor.

Either Andrew Cuomo is so incapable and incompetent that he is completely unaware of the supposed misdeeds of his closest political associates, or he's as guilty as they are. Either he's so detached as to not detect corruption taking place right in front of him, or he is the master and center of that corruption.

Either way, he can't be governor.

The gall and audacity of the kleptocracy can't be allowed to go on unchecked like this.

Perhaps one or more of the 10 indicted will roll over on him, saving their own skin by offering up his. Maybe these indictments are sounding shots, to drive him from cover and into a prosecutorial trap.

Maybe we will, at long last, be rid of him.

But if all we are rid of is him. then the exercise will have been a failure. "The king is dead -- Long live the king!" is not what we're looking for. We need regime change. Not just of specific individuals, but of general attitudes. It is not enough to behead this group of thieving despots if all that does is create an opening for the next group of thieving despots.

Somehow, over generations, from both parties, a culture of blatant theft and graft has crept in and consumed New York politics. The pump is primed with thoughts of pensions and benefits, and then it slides almost unavoidably into a morass of exchanges, of tit for tat, of selling one's soul for some patronage or an endorsement or a little something something to make everything all right.

That's how so many of them come to go to jail.

That's how three men in a room come potentially to be three men in a cell.

That's how, when this all broke, and the details and the audacity came out, there wasn't really any surprise. Republicans only half-heartedly pointed in derision, and Democrats only half-heartedly sprung to Cuomo's defense. It's like you knew you had cancer, you just didn't know what kind.

And now you now.

We have a cancer that goes all the way to the top.

It's Tammany Hall meets Teapot Dome, and we just call it Cuomo.

And every time he came to town to tell us what he was doing for us, it turns out he was probably just uncorking another opportunity for his cronies to enrich themselves.

And it is all revealed for the sham it is.

Our state is the most dysfunctional in the nation, and people are leaving it in droves. And these indictments raise the very real possibility that those who promised to lead us to prosperity, have really only come to pick our bones.

- by Bob Lonsberry © 2016

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