Tag Archives: sexual harassment

‘Distractions’ can be political killers

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Americans today received another textbook lesson on how scandalous “distractions” interfere with politicians who sign on to govern and to care for the public’s business.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned his office today effective in two weeks. He has been accused by 11 women of sexual harassment. Cuomo denies doing what they accuse him of doing but gave one of those “if I offended anyone” apologies that, to my ears, sends me into orbit.

Yes, he and what’s left of his staff have been distracted by the scandal. Cuomo no longer can govern. Every decision, every move he makes, every statement he utters would be cast against the allegations that many of us find credible.

President Lyndon Johnson cited the distraction of the Vietnam War protests at home before telling the world on March 31, 1968 that “I will not seek and will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”

President Richard Nixon, whose administration was being swallowed whole by Watergate, never admitted to doing anything wrong when he tendered his resignation on Aug. 8, 1974. He, too, cited the “distraction” created by all the furor over what he did — which was to abuse the power of his office to cover up the burglary at the Democratic National Committee office in June 1972.

Distractions have this way of getting in front of governing officials.

Too bad, you know? That’s how it goes and that is how it went today as Andrew Cuomo became the latest pol — but surely not the last — to resign because he didn’t want to take a moment of attention away from the duties of his office.

This is what happens when politicians misbehave. I happen to believe the accusers who said Cuomo harassed them sexually. I also happen to believe that the governor is right about the reason for his resignation, that he didn’t want to be distracted by the furor and the fury his actions have generated.

I am left to ask: Is it too much to ask that we elect politicians who know better than to behave in a way that creates these “distractions”?

B’bye, Gov. Cuomo

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com


I could just leave it at that, but I’ll offer a few words about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation that takes effect in two weeks.

He has been accused — credibly in the eyes of almost everyone — of sexually harassing 11 women. Cuomo today denied doing what New York Attorney General Letitia James — a fellow Democrat — concluded he did. He accused her of bias.

Ah, but he did apologize. If you want to call it that.

The reason he quit today was because of the “distraction” all of this would create. Cuomo said governing would come to a halt. He would not allow that to happen.

His resignation had to occur. Why? Because he had no support in the New York State Assembly. Democratic pols throughout the land — including President Biden — said he should quit. Cuomo had squandered the ability to govern because of some “lifelong” habit of touching people and calling them “honey,” “sweetheart” and “darling.”

Good grief.

What he did not say during his resignation speech was something that President Nixon didn’t say in 1974 when he announced his resignation. He didn’t have the support of those within his own party. Nixon got an earful from GOP Sens. Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott and Bob Dole that were he to be impeached by the House for the Watergate scandal that he would be convicted in a Senate trial.

Cuomo faced impeachment in the New York Assembly. He would have been convicted.

He is two weeks away now from exiting the stage.

Fine. Now the state that Andrew Cuomo says he loves can get on with governing.

Drama isn’t pretty … and it must end

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The drama being played out at this moment in Albany, N.Y., is not pretty to watch.

However, it is real and it has been seen many times before throughout our nation’s history. It has to end and — sad to say — it likely won’t end well for the man on center stage of this drama.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo cannot possibly stay on in his elected position. Eleven women have accused him — seemingly with great credibility — of sexual harassment and of actions that border on sexual assault. It is consuming the governorship.

Cuomo is facing intense pressure from the media, from politicians within his own Democratic Party — not to mention Republicans — to resign from office. The New York Times calls Cuomo “unfit” for office. The Albany Times-Union — in the city where Cuomo works each day — has implored him to resign.

Every single thing that Cuomo touches from this day forward will be tainted by the scandal. It’s big, too. The New York attorney general, fellow Democrat Letitia James, has concluded that the women’s accusations are credible.

Cuomo blames all of this on politics. Really? C’mon, governor. When politicians with whom you are supposedly close — one of whom is President Biden — call for your resignation, well … it ain’t political.

None of us should take pleasure in watching a once-shining political career crash and burn. That is what is happening. Indeed, the more that comes out about Cuomo, about how he treats his foes and the bullying tactics he has been known to employ, the less admirable a man he becomes in many of our eyes.

If he doesn’t walk away on his own, he is likely to be impeached. The way I see the wind blowing in upstate New York, a trial won’t end well, either.

It’s your call, governor.

Cuomo to be swallowed whole

By John Kanelis / johnkanellis_92@hotmail.com

You may take this straight to the bank.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tenure is about to be swallowed whole and digested by the allegations that have been confirmed by an independent investigation led by the New York attorney general.

That is why — among other reasons — Cuomo needs to resign as governor.

How can this individual propose any legislation without the storm cloud brought by AG Letitia James’s findings on the allegations leveled by dozens of women? How does this guy enter a public debate without someone asking him out loud about allegations that he touched women inappropriately?

The New York governorship of Andrew Cuomo has been turned to burnt toast. Period. End of story.

And it’s the end of his governorship.

Andrew Cuomo can deny it all he wants. It won’t matter. The suspicion that the New York governor is a slug just won’t go away.

It’s over, Gov. Cuomo

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I feel fairly confident in asserting that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a political heir and son of a prominent East Coast dynasty, is likely finished as a politician.

The state attorney general has issued a blistering report that said Cuomo violated federal and state law by sexually harassing state employees. The behavior included, according to AG Letitia James — a fellow Democrat — unwelcome touching and kissing. Several women filed complaints against the governor.

The attorney general vowed to get to the bottom of it and today she asserted that Gov. Cuomo did what the women have alleged.

Why does this matter to me, your friendly blogger way down yonder in Texas — a good distance from Albany, NY.? Because the New York governor has been a national figure since before he was elected to his current office. He was born the son of Mario Cuomo, the fabulous orator and former New York governor. He served in President Clinton’s Cabinet as housing secretary.

During the current pandemic, Cuomo emerged as an eloquent spokesman for the way his state was handling the crisis.

Now we have this. The rest of it, all the good stuff? We might as flush it away. See ya later, governor.

Cuomo’s time has come?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It is beginning to look to me as though Andrew Cuomo’s tenure as New York governor might be about to pass into history.

The Democratic politician is getting plenty of pressure to resign and it is coming from senior members of the state’s congressional delegation. He stands accused of sexual harassment by at least seven women, not to mention the scandal that erupted before this stuff arrived about the undercounting of COVID deaths among nursing home residents.

President Nixon faced similar pressure in August 1974 when the Watergate scandal was about to produce a certain impeachment. Senior congressional Republicans went to the White House to inform Nixon that his tenure as president was toast, that he had no support in Congress. Nixon quit.

Impeachment looms just ahead for Cuomo.

It looks as though there might be something similar is building in  the New York statehouse.

Time to go, Gov. Cuomo

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Andrew Cuomo has been a national political figure since before he took office as New York governor.

He comes from a renowned New York political family, being the son of a former governor and he once served as U.S. housing secretary in the Clinton administration.

It is with that context being laid out there that a blogger from faraway Texas — that would be me — has an interest in the political calamity that has befallen this guy.

He’s got to resign from office and find a way to rehabilitate himself.

I hate using the word “distraction,” but this fellow’s gubernatorial performance is being distracted to the point of irrelevance. He cannot propose anything for his state that isn’t measured against the allegations that have been leveled by seven women who have accused him of sexual harassment and actual sexual assault.

It’s over, Gov. Cuomo. He had his moment in the sun with his stunning media performance chronicling his state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was being held up as the gold standard for governmental candor compared to what we were getting throughout 2020 from the president of the United States.

Then the crap hit the fan on that matter, too! Reports surfaced about Cuomo undercounting the number of infections and deaths at nursing homes in New York. Bad call, dude.

Now come the seemingly credible accusations of sexual misconduct by women who formerly worked in the Cuomo administration. Democrats have joined Republicans in calling for Cuomo to resign. The New York House of Representatives has launched an impeachment inquiry that, it now appears likely, will result in articles of impeachment being filed against Cuomo.

It’s time for Andrew Cuomo to exit the political stage he has commanded for decades.

Will these allegations hold up?

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We likely are going to witness a fairly significant difference in the way the public and the political establishment treat two public officials accused of misbehavior while holding public office.

They aren’t parallel examples, but pretty close.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has been accused by three women of committing acts of sexual harassment. Cuomo has apologized (more or less) for his misdeeds, declaring he “never intended” to act so boorishly. Calls among Democrats and Republicans are mounting for him to resign. Cuomo says he won’t quit.

Now, we have U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, a Republican, who’s been accused by a government inspector general of sexual harassment of employees while he served as White House physician. The IG also says Jackson, who represents my former congressional district in the Texas Panhandle, drank on the job and took sleeping pills while tending to three presidents of the United States. Jackson calls the IG report a hit job and blames it on partisan politics.

I haven’t heard anyone up yonder in the Panhandle of Texas declare that he should quit. Could it be that the GOP-friendly Panhandle, governed by a party that used to proclaim allegiance to the notion that “character counts,” no longer holds that view?

I believe Cuomo will have difficulty riding out this storm. Jackson should have at least equal difficulty.

Indeed, the IG report was issued after interviews with about 70 eyewitnesses who testified under threat of committing a felony for lying about what they saw Dr. Jackson do. Isn’t that credible enough?

The congressman’s dodge that it is a partisan hack job just doesn’t hold up, given the nature of the inspector general’s office … which is decidedly non-political.

Gov. Cuomo … you’ve messed up

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Andrew Cuomo isn’t your run-of-the-mill governor of one of our 50 states. He has a famous political name; he once was married to a member of the Kennedy clan; he became a national media star with his COVID pandemic press briefings.

However, he appears to have messed up big time.

Three women have accused him of sexual harassment. The New York Democrat is under fire from his fellow Democrats to resign in the face of the accusations that appear to be credible.

What gives them credibility is his non-apology. Cuomo has declared that he didn’t intend his actions to be “flirtatious,” that he was trying to be “funny,” and that he apologizes for any “misinterpretation” that was derived from the way he talked to these women.

Oh, brother.

The 60-something governor has had a very rough couple of weeks. It started with reports of how he undercounted the deaths at nursing homes of COVID victims. It then got worse with the accusations of sexual harassment.

Gov. Cuomo is known in New York as someone who treats others badly. He reportedly can be downright mean and belittling in his confrontations with those who disagree with him.

So, as I watch this drama play out I am inclined to give the accusers the benefit of the doubt. As for that ridiculous, phony “apology” that Cuomo offered, well … it only worsens matters.

Were he to ask for my advice, I would say Gov. Cuomo needs to find something else to do.

Matthews’ departure comes into sharper focus

I admit readily — and I have done so many times — that I am not the most intuitive guy in the world.

People say things that zoom straight over my noggin and I barely take note of how offensive their statements might seem to others, such as, oh, women or minorities.

When I heard last night from Chris Matthews himself on TV say that he was leaving MSNBC immediately and ending his two-decade run of “Hardball,” I was flummoxed initially. What the hell just happened? I wondered.

Then I heard about the things he said to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, questioning whether a woman she quoted in a Democratic presidential debate could have been lying about something Michael Bloomberg allegedly told her. It didn’t dawn on me in the moment, when Matthews and Warren sparred over that exchange, that women took serious offense to the questioning that Matthews was leveling at Warren.

Then came reports about Matthews hitting on women on his show, telling one of them how he had failed to “fall in love” with her. She reportedly took offense at the seeming come-on.

Matthews quit suddenly while admitting that times have changed from when the now 74-year-old was coming of age. Things that men said back then are no longer acceptable, he said. He apologized for what he had said.

I have commented already how I will miss his commentary. Yes, I have enjoyed watching him spar and joust with politicians. I have admired his ability to challenge those with whom agrees politically as readily as he does with those on the other side of the fence. To be candid, I didn’t pick up on the issues that others have identified as offensive.

When he wondered aloud about Bernie Sanders’ win in Nevada was akin to the Nazi conquest of France during World War II, I thought: Oh, that’s an interesting analogy. I didn’t cringe as others have done.

So now he’s gone from the air. Matthews could be abrasive, brash and loud. I heard all of that. It didn’t phase me.

I don’t know if any of this will sharpen my intuitive instincts. Maybe it will. If it doesn’t, I want to apologize in advance for any offense that I won’t take when someone pops off.