First, Bill Hammond:
Getting sucked into a war of words with Mayor de Blasio — and looking like the smaller man — is the latest sign that Gov. Cuomo is in a funk.
Gone is the happy warrior who confidently notched one impressive and improbable victory after another when he first took office four years ago.
In his place is a governor who’s struggling to gain traction for his legislative priorities, running out of friends in politics and blowing up over petty slights from a fellow Democrat in City Hall.
Next, NT 2 blog:
The Governor, once the ultimate tough and transactional guy, is morphing into a very emotional person. It’s as if he’s on a Jenner-like journey.
In his speech today, Cuomo talked about how, as a boy, he was afraid to drive over the Tappen Zee Bridge and look down at the river below. “In my mind, I’d play out all the scenarios of bridge collapse and what that entailed. It was really scary. I couldn’t stop thinking about it….Yes, I guess my childhood was miserable.”
Where to begin? Well, it kind of goes without saying that a speechwriter wasn’t responsible for this. It could only come from Cuomo – from deep within him. But why say it in a speech on property tax relief? Why say it at all? What’s the point of it? How does it actually parse? Fear of crossing a bridge equated with the entirety of one’s childhood being miserable? What’s going on here?
Now if you look up “fear of crossing a bridge,” you find an established condition known as gephrophobia. And when you research gephrophobia, you find a lot about anxiety disorders, including an entire body of research on how gephrophobia symptoms can become especially acute during periods of stress, particularly during illness or bereavement. Symptoms include irritability and loss of focus.
The governor went on in his speech to talk about how “no one thought the bridge could be built, and when I asked about it, people were dismissive and patronizing. They said: “There’s the nice new governor. He’s so sad looking. He looks like a puppy, he does. How are we going to break it to him that he can’t build his bridge?”
Well, well, well. Where to begin with this one?
Perhaps we start by noting that no one ever said this or anything like it. Think about it: Would anyone have ever spoken to Cuomo like that then or now? No, it’s clearly a figment of the Governor’s imagination, but it’s a telling one. In much the same way that he was trying to inspire sympathy with his miserable childhood comment, he’s trying to tell us something here. He’s telling us that he is, indeed, sad. And that he wants to be loved and taken care of like a puppy.
Wow. We’re really into some couch-time territory here.
There was actually a lot more to this particular speech – revealing comments throughout. We could go on, but let us just make the observation that rather than being a joke, Cuomo’s comments were serious.
We’re not analysts, but it occurs to us that the whole bridge discussion – again totally out of place in a speech about property taxes – is a kind of metaphor. What is a bridge? It’s the connection between here and there, now and the future. Cuomo’s comments about childhood and sadness and the puppy – that’s all intense anxiety about his current life. Maybe it’s the loss of his father. Maybe it’s his companion’s illness. Maybe it’s the prospect of Preet making multiple cases against him. Whatever it is, Cuomo is signaling that he’s really struggling with things right now. It’s a cry for help.
Finally, a commenter at NT2 blog:
He’s been mean and vindictive, purposefully on bad terms w the Attorney general, the Comptroller, both houses, the Congressional delegation. He has stuck it to gun owners, municipal govts and school districts; teachers and public state employees.
He gets no sympathy from me because he has shown no sympathy for others. He’s the classic bully who breaks down when his false front of toughness is exposed. His comments are a cry for help? Bull. They’re a ploy to gain him support.
Like the commenter, I have no sympathy for Cuomo either.
I dunno if it's just the tough personal year he's had, with his father dying and his partner having to fight cancer, coupled with a tougher professional year when opponents didn't just roll over to him, or if he's got some deeper worry that's eating away at him and bringing us these Hamlet on the Hudson moments like NT2 blog detailed above.
But quite frankly, I don't care.
After years of Cuomo demonizing my profession and doing his best to destroy teachers, the teaching profession and public schools, this public unraveling couldn't happen to a more deserving fellow.