Gov. Andrew Cuomo Will Not Act Like Brett Kavanaugh

If you wonder what it might be like for a polar bear to be stranded on a drifting and melting slab of ice look no further than the bedraggled face of Governor Andrew Cuomo. His political crisis can hardly get worse following the news that both United States senators from New York have thrown the once most powerful man in the state into the cold waters. The quickening pace of the almost surreal series of events in Albany has caught the attention of the country.

It comes as no surprise at the gleeful ease so many have piled onto Cuomo. Having a long track-record of being harsh with his foes and friends, alike, there are not many who now will expend any of their own political capital to defend the charges being made against him. It would seem, however, someone with heft in the city might offer some pushback, given the all-of-a-sudden rush by a number of people to all at once speak out about his boorish behavior. That is not to say Cuomo did not act as he is being accused, but no one can miss the amazing orchestration of this political take-down.

That is what has this blogger watching hour-by-hour for the next development. I simply do not see how Cuomo can stay in office following the events in the past 36 hours.

But it needs noting that the other reason the nation is watching–apart from the need to see the crash occurring in slow motion–is how this event is in such stark contrast to other women making charges against other powerful men. If you are keeping score of the women who have spoken out concerning the sexual predator who sat in the Oval Office over the past four years it would total twenty-six. The severity of many of their allegations against Trump makes Cuomo appear to be a choir boy.

But unlike the avalanche of Democrats who have called for Cuomo to step down, there were only crickets to be heard when Republicans were asked to hold their leader accountable. We recall the indignant nature of the ever-single and womanless Senator Lindsey Graham when confronting the accuser of Brett Kavanaugh. Gone were the stern words from a conservative about personal responsibility as the senator all but licked the shoes of the nominee to the high court.

So it is newsworthy that Democrats are the ones showing what consistency looks like with this issue to a nation that has not seen much of that from the other party. Democrats are demonstrating they have the same concerns be it a Republican, or not, who faces the allegations. And I suspect that theme continues in the days to come, with Cuomo meeting his call to his larger duty.

Kavanaugh should have acted like a man with some shred of decency and removed himself from the nomination. That would have been best for the court. Unlike that episode, I predict Cuomo writes a powerful statement and removes himself from office. Knowing that is what a man does who understands amends must be made, and how a pol acts for the greater good.

And so it goes.

Senator Susan Collins Must Be Defeated In 2020

There is a word for Maine Senator Susan Collins.  She is a stooge.  A Republican one.


There is nothing more unsightly in politics than to see a long-serving elected official pretend that it is the first session of a legislative body ever to be encountered.  Yet that is what Republican Senator Susan Collins does repeatedly.  She allows herself to be played and rolled on important legislation and judicial nominations, only to be ‘surprised’ that the wolf in sheep clothes did not show more teeth so to alert her to the dangers.

To see such behavior once might be odd, but amusing to watch play out.  But to know that Collins has perfected her act of ‘innocence’ over and over means that she thinks the voters are too stupid to pay attention.  This year at the polls will be different as they are angry and ready to send a clear message.  As a result, her tactics will be bounced, and she will be out of the seat.

I have long contended that she is not very bright. She is more an ornament than a sturdy tree.  She is nothing more than a notch the GOP has on their majority list; not to be confused with a solid thinker.  She has been twisted and shaped to fit whatever the majority requires, and that has left the Maine voter under-represented in the senate.

When babbling that perhaps Donald Trump had learned a lesson from impeachment I am sure many folks in Maine called to get her a wellness check.  I am sure with her stern look and forceful tongue it found its way to the conscience of Trump, and like Paul in the Bible, he saw the light.  Right?

While Collins pretends to be some moderate force keeping Trump and his checkered character under scrutiny she, in fact, has aided and abetted the worst policy moves that this administration has foisted onto the public.  For instance, she pretends not to know the wily ways of Brett Kavanaugh.  Even after dreadful writing of his own words are made public, as we read recently, she still doubles down on her insistence that he is not what we all know him to be.

Should we trust our own eyes, analyze the words with our own intellect, or listen to the ramblings of Collins?

I am more than comfortable in saying that voters in Maine are finished with Collins for doing nothing other than enable Trump to remain in the White House, and allow for the Supreme Court to be far less credible with the placement of a very troubling justice.

Democrat Sara Gideon will be not only a refreshing new face but will supply what Maine needs.  A second senator with intelligence and spine to do what is required in this powerful office.

A Picture Of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh And A Call From History

Some of the best memories of working in a legislative office were the days when a school group from our district would have a planned tour of the statehouse, and the assemblyman (for whatever reason) was not in the building.  It was then that I was called upon to speak to the students seated in the assembly chamber.  I genuinely loved the chance to speak to them about why government matters, and even more importantly, what their role as citizens meant to the whole process.

Sometimes the group would be 4th graders–as that was still when most children had their first course in Wisconsin history.  Other times the students would be in high school and their government class took a trip to Madison.  But regardless of the age my message hit on the theme that the history we make today will be what future generations remember about us, and who we were.  If the kids were younger I would tie this theme into the sale of the land on which they were now seated, and why the actions from the past matter to this day.   If high school kids were present I would link the fight of lowering the voting age to the actions of citizen activists.

But over and over it all came down to how history will write of the time when ‘you live your life in this state and nation’.

Decisions are made everyday in our government which will last forever in the pages of history.  The ones that caused pain seem to forever throb with revulsion.  The words written by Roger Taney still remind us of how far away from perfect our country once was.  The same hills in Vietnam that were fought for and claimed, lost and fought for again, only to be lost again and……underscores how we now look back and excoriate those who walked willingly into their own messes.

Over the past weeks we have all been either on side of the abyss, or the other, when it came to the nomination fight over Brett Kavanuagh for the Supreme Court.  Those who have never cared for history will not know that there are some parallels which we can look to for guidance on how we might have moved forward.

Former Republican Texas Senator John Tower had a world of cloud and doubt surrounding his nomination in a 1989 fight for Secretary of Defense.  He also had Federal agents carrying out a check on his background as senators spoke about the issues that some felt were too buried and private to acknowledge.  President Bush had placed his name before the senate but Tower’s drinking habits and his relationships with women made his elevation most troubling.  And for good reason.  The twice-divorced Tower made no secret of his appreciation for ‘a glass or two of wine’ or for the company of an attractive women.

The needs of the nation, the requirements for a totally engaged Defense Secretary, and the historical call for integrity within a presidential administration proved powerful enough for the bottom line to that story to almost write itself.  His nomination was rejected by the senate.

Tower was not the only person who could have made our defense structure operate at that time.  Likewise, Kavanugh was not the only conservative who could have been nominated by the Trump White House.  Instead of thinking long-term about the needs of a nation so deeply split over politics, or a senate confirmation process that pains anyone willing to let go of tribalism along enough to ponder it, this White House hunkered down and placed pride and power over reason and the call of history.

Conservatives placed their man on the court.

But they also placed an asterisk in the pages of history books which forever will be studied.  Kavanaugh will forever be judged in a way that most justices are not considered.  His character alone would have terminated his nomination at one time in this land. If not for his behavior in his youth, surely for his temperament before the senate.  That is not a liberal or conservative perspective, it is just a plain fact.

But the citizens who now thrust and joust on social media, and can give no quarter to ‘the opposition’, leaned hard on the Republicans who had the power over the nomination.  And in so doing they all will now be a part of what I talked to those students about decades ago.

History will write of the time when ‘you live your life in this state and nation’.  The actions are recorded, the words in print, the votes cast in the record, letters to newspaper editors archived, and diary entries and blog posts offering thoughts and opinions saved so others, long from now, will be able to dive into them for insight.

We have spoken,  History, however, will be the ultimate judge to what we did.

And so it goes.

Historical Tidbit For Today’s Senate Vote

Something of interest to politicos.

When the Senate votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, two senators will engage in a practice that’s all but died out. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the only Republican senator opposed to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, intends to vote “present” to offset the absence of GOP Sen. Steve Daines, who will be in Montana to attend to his daughter’s wedding.

When votes are paired on the Senate floor, senators announce their intended votes in the Congressional Record, explaining that the offsetting opposite votes will not affect the outcome.

The practice was much more common when the parties had less ideological consistency. Northern Democrats would regularly pair off with their pro-segregation colleagues from the South.

Perhaps the most recent example of pairing on a floor vote came in 2014. In this instance, Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, was against President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

But Levin voted present to create what is known as a “live pair” with fellow Democrat Cory Booker of New Jersey, who was not present for the vote. Murkowski and Daines are expected to use the same procedure employed by Levin and Booker.

Senators Representing Less Than Half The U.S. Are To Confirm Nominee Opposed By Most Americans

Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation will come with support from senators representing only 44.2 percent of country.  (51 senators)

Population with opposing senator is 55.8% (49 senators)

Kavanaugh will be the first justice nominated by someone who lost the popular vote (3 million votes) to earn his seat on the bench with support from senators representing less than half of the country while having his nomination opposed by a majority of the country.

What Leadership Looks Like With Heidi Heitkamp

When one describes what leadership looks like this might be a modern example. How can you not be impressed that Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota declared that she will vote against confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court?

It takes character to vote against the way the wind is blowing back home.

She took a stand and in so doing just concluded that she couldn’t morally defend a yes vote.  She sees the lack of judicial temperament and thinks her nation would be best served with a no vote.

Let me be clear.  Heitkamp voting no on Kavanaugh was a much harder decision than the one Joe Manchin of West Virginia is still facing, considering she might lose her race and he is ahead pretty big in the polls.  He needs to step up and show leadership.

Perhaps women do know more about being leaders then men.

Senator Jeff Flake Makes An Allen Drury Moment

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake said he will vote to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court with the understanding that the sexual assault accusation against him will be investigated by the FBI.

The plot of Advise and Consent by Allen Drury (it beat all records for duration (98 weeks) on the best-seller lists, won a Pulitzer Prize, and was well received critically )revolves around a showdown between the president of the United States and the senior senator from South Carolina.  They belong to opposing wings of the same party and disagree on most things, and specifically, in the plot of the book, the president’s nomination of a slick character for Secretary of State.

Drury is known to have created the novelization of Washington politics.  I started reading his books actually in middle school with The Throne Of Saturn.  What has always drawn me to his Washington series is that character matters to the plots he creates and the outcomes of the issues at play.

Today Flake proved be could have been a major player in a Drury book.   With the current high drama and deep divide  in our nation one voice was able, at least in the short term, to attempt to build a bridge.  Flake is attempting to prove that our great ponderous system of checks and balances and compromises can perhaps work today at this time when our nation so badly requires a fix.

That same tone and insight was what made the Advise and Consent series a treasure to me—books that I keep on a special shelf just over my shoulder from where I write these blog posts.

Personal Note As The Day Of The Kavanaugh Hearing Comes To A Close

I had my first beer at my first party of that type when I was 19 years old. That is a true statement. My parents were not drinkers and we simply did not have alcohol in the house.

After having watched over 7 hours of the senate hearing today I realized that what passes for the male attitudes and behavior of youth was never something I ever was involved with. Instead, I set my own path.

My friends in broadcasting school were young and sowing seeds like I was but none of us acted with alcohol as Brett Kavanaugh did–and in his case years younger. I am sure each of those people would say they do not feel cheated or denied something because they lived life with boundaries.

Listening tonight to public reaction from the hearings there are the military types and hyper-male types ranting of ‘this is what guys do’ and I say no–that is not correct.

James grew up in rural Maine with a family grounded in traditions and foundations, and I grew up with similar ones in rural Wisconsin.  James certainly did not act like Kavanaugh when young, either.

So what does that make us–and the countless others who share our values?  Dull? Stodgy?  Lacking zest for life?


We are the type of guys where neighbors have told their young kids if anything bad happens they can always run to ‘their home’ for help.

I felt so estranged from much of my country today and this evening as I listen to feedback from the hearing.  I absolutely reject the idea that Kavanaugh tried to paint today that all guys drink to excess, love beer, and have less than enough character to say no to the things in life which will bring one down.

Today was a very long and sad day for the nation. That too few grasp that fact is even more troubling.