Michael Maiello's picture

    Go Nixon, Go!

    I wasn't planning on enthusiastically supporting Cynthia Nixon's bid to become New York's governor, which should lead to a primary challenge against incumbent Andrew Cuomo, absent shenanigans.  I was planning, instead, to hear her out, given that I am largely unsatisfied with Andrew, who has proven annoyed me by feuding with New York City mayor Bill de Blasio when he should be doing right by the people who pay most of the taxes around here. which is us New Yorkers.

    But I've already been pushed past the "willing to hear her out" stage on Cynthia Nixon purely because of the aghast reaction by New York's entrenched politicians.  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, for example, has already publicly endorsed Cuomo. It's unseemly that a sitting Senator would make an endorsement like that before Nixon has even had a chance to debate Cuomo, or to even start her campaign.

    This came after former New York City speaker and failed mayoral candidate Christine Quinn went full Trump on Twitter and called Nixon and "unqualified lesbian." There's some history here.  Quinn (also an out lesbian) and Nixon worked together on same sex marriage rights leading up to the 2012 mayoral election where Nixon shocked Quinn by endorsing Bill de Blasio. But Quinn is Vice Chair of the State Democratic Party.  She could have, at least, kept her mouth shut about this and remained neutral during the primary process.  Now New Yorkers have decent reason to believe that the state party favors the incumbent and sees Nixon's bid as something of an affront.

    I watched Quinn try to walk her comments back on local news last night (emphasizing that she views Nixon as unqualified and regrets tagging lesbian to it) and her complaint really is that Nixon is running at all. Basically, she believes that government should be left to lifelong government types, despite Nixon's history of successful activism and grass roots actions within her neighborhood and around the public school that her children attend.

    The issue of "qualifications" in a democracy is interesting.  While I won't say that they don't matter, they really don't matter in the traditional sense of job hunting. People have the right to elect outsiders and to try new things.  In practice, voters rarely do this. Incumbents hold great power and sway and voters do seem to be pretty cautious.

    But Nixon is no fringe candidate. She's a Zephyr Teachout style progressive with a long history of activism and professional accomplishment. She's by all accounts bright. I have no doubt she can handle the job. Is it a risk?  I suppose so, since she's never held elected office before.  But it actually seems worth the risk just to show the entrenched Democrats in the state party that they're the party's servants, not the party's owners.

    Every time one of these hacks comes out for Andrew, I become that much more likely to vote for Nixon in the primary.  If it keeps up like this, she won't even have to try for my vote.




    Kirsten Gillibrand can kiss my ass.  She started the piling on against Al Franken, thereby denying him the opportunity to participate in investigation he asked for.  She is an opportunist and it will be her undoing.

    BTW, I have read many good things about Nixon as well.  My daughter lives in NY.  Maybe I should send her the “Nixon” button I found in my mother’s jewelry box after she died.  I have it on my kitchen bulletin board, lol.

    My wife suggested we make and sell "Unqualified Lesbian" t-shirts.

    "2018 - only unqualified people need apply"

    I'd kind of expected we were going to beat up on the GOP for putting all their unqualified crony pieces of shit friends in, but I guess we've just decided to join the meme. It all looks so easy on TV/Twitter. All good fun until someone destroys an economy or goes to war in the wrong place, but I guess being exceptional we don't have to worry about that.

    Plenty of "qualified" elected leaders have led us into wars in the wrong places and have tanked economies. Nixon seems a smart woman with good ideas, good people around her and a history of successful activism for both human rights and education. Since temperament and judgment seem to most define success, we could at least slow down in dismissing Nixon.  Cuomo has not exactly done a great job.

    Yeah, we're so l33t. Bailing out of this one - trash collector at the door, wants to show me some stock tips.

    I'm with ya. PP. Here's the thing. She's is perfectly qualified to run for State Assembly Rep. of her district, or even Brooklyn Borough President.

    Governor or even mayor of a big city: NO WAY. Not major executive positions without executive experience. Without executive experience? At the very least get your fingernails dirty with a couple years lower level political experience seeing the way sausage gets made.

    Even in the latter case, let's not start at the top, folks. U.S. Rep. Sonny Bono was stretching it but learned on the job. Sen. Al Franken was an outlier of his kind--I was nervous that would be a disaster too, in that he took to it like a duck to water.

    It can work in legislative positions, celebs are people too. Legislatures are supposed to be "the people" representing the people, that's the way they are supposed to work.

    Swings who voted for Trump should have been reminded of the lovely Gov. Jesse Ventura experience and just say no thank you.  But then they probably fell for it that Trump was a real businessman.

    Uh oh, now I am getting into wrestler bashing territory....

    P.S. Good at messaging, sound like they know what they are doing, but without experience? Although he began his tenure as governor with record high approval ratings (as high as 89% in December 2003), he left office with a record low 23%,[89] only one percent higher than that of Gray Davis, when he was recalled in October 2003.

    Yes, agree w all the legislative v executive caveats/analysis. In a legislature, your voice is balanced by others - much more damage to be had in a serious exec position.

    I'm rather meh from the little I know about her - glad she's a spokesperson for some good issues, but that doesn't make her qualified to run a state as its chief executive. I don't even see her as having any directing experience.

    Whatever, little has standards anymore.


    She´s unqualified. Now. End of story.   She could start to  fix that either  by getting elected  or selected to a job she could  learn to handle.. You learn to be an executive or politician by being one. She hasn´t been.

    I´ve known she was a democrat since seeing her in the audience at a couple of conventions. Good . But even if   she ´d paid her dues on a City Council  or as Commissioner of something or other I wouldn´t support her to replace Cuomo.

    I seriously disagree with several of his positions and of his obstruction of DiBlasio . And find him personally unappealing. But I support Democrat incumbents.

    ¨Always keep a hold of Nurse, for fear of getting someone  worse. ¨ 


    edited to add Democrat

    At this point, my vote in the primary is her's to lose.

    Maiello... humor them...


    And once you’ve done the paperwork, you have to lick so many—

    Btw Molly Roberts in a WaPo column a few days ago had good things to say about Nixon.

    edit to add the link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2018/03/22/cynthia...


    From The Week online today, Damon Linker, "Cynthia Nixon is the Future of the Democratic Party-for good and ill: 




    After 67 years of life on this planet; I mean to actually hear that a Nixon is the future of the Democratic Party?



    I know i am late to this, but I’ve been watching Ms. Nixon, she is very smart and I think she could win if she has a good campaign. The problem for Mr. Cuomo is, he has some real issues with borderline corruption especially when it comes to this subway issue and the weird corruption of the Port Authority.  Nixon seemingly knows the issues and has enough money to run a competent campaign. 

    Elected officials often side with the folks who brung them, so it isn’t shocking that others have come out in support of Cuomo, but if Nixon wins the primary, elected Dem’s will support her, because that is how this game is played, so there is no need to be angry with the other politicians, just make a decision and vote in the primary and see how this plays out. It should be fun to watch!

    Tmac, how big of a concern to you is Nixon's lack of any experience in elected office, running for governor of a large state right out of the chute?  Is it something you think can be largely overcome with especially strong staffing?

    Yeah, basically that is what I think. She is intellectually curious and smart. I am also not worried if Cuomo wins. I definitely want to see her debate, I’d like to see her policies laid out, etc. If if if she were to win I do believe good solid politicos will want to work for her and that should ease some of her inexperience in terms of managing large entities. But I think actors are very good at reading people and learning, which is a big part of politics.

    It's just that our legislature in Albany and our state government is a notoriously crooked, complex, and entrenched cesspool of political patronage. It's like many more people like her have to become representatives before a governor that didn't already know his/her way around that mess could accomplish anything except being played. As a citizen, I fear things could get a lot worse with a newbie governor without experience and without patronage backing.

    P.S. Here's how new lefty governor of next door neighbor New Jersey is doing so far, also a state government with lots of corruption. And he has boots on the ground experience trying to work the political machine there, he knows a lot of the players.

    Edit to add: In New York just transportation, for example, requires knowing how to manipulate a huge entrenched bureaucracy like the Metropolitan Transit Authority And that's not all of it, there's the huge bureaucracy of the interstate Port Authority of New York and New Jersey handling not just the ports but the bridges, tunnels, airports, some commuter railways...through which Chris Christie played some infamous political tricks. You don't just tell entities like this what to do by governor fiat, they won't do it, they'll find a way around you if they don't like it, you've got to have "ties", have some knowledge of who's in charge, have some knowledge of whose in charge in prosecutors' offices, who are your friendlies in the judiciary, etc....

    "Is Cynthia Nixon Ready for the Spotlight?", Joan Walsh, The Nation magazine https://www.thenation.com/article/cynthia-nixon-ready-spotlight/

    The symbolism could not have been more stark: On the opening morning of the New York
 State Democratic Party Convention at Hofstra University in May, the progressive caucus had been relegated to a curtained-off area that fit fewer than half the folks who showed up. There were no microphones, and speakers had to yell to be heard. Nearby, hired acts practiced their routines; for a while, a gospel choir soared. Across the way, the party’s powerful executive committee began its meeting in a much roomier space. They had multiple microphones, and their voices boomed over those addressing the progressive faithful. Against this backdrop, upstart gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon strained to make the case that she deserved to have her name put on the primary ballot to challenge two-term incumbent Andrew Cuomo. The governor, she said, has “slashed taxes on the rich, slashed services for everything else, and has run the New York subway into the ground.” Nixon promised to fight for single-payer health care and “real criminal-justice reform,” end the school-to-prison pipeline, legalize marijuana, and “make sure we are enacting all possible protections [for] immigrants.”

    She finished to polite but less than rousing applause. Quickly, a delegate pressed her. “I never hear details behind the wish list,” he complained. Talking a bit louder, Nixon repeated some of what she’d said, adding a few more issues like fully funding New York’s public schools and strengthening tenant protections. “We have the wealth, if we would only use it,” she argued. But her answers lacked the policy details that this insider crowd craved. At any rate, her inquisitor appeared unimpressed.

    Later that day, Nixon would win less than 5 percent of the delegate vote, far below the 25 percent threshold needed to get on the ballot. But the popular actor counted her visit to “the lion’s den” of the party establishment as a success nonetheless, telling reporters the next day that she always expected she’d have to collect the 15,000 signatures necessary to put her name on the ballot. She’ll far exceed that, promises Joe Dinkin, communications director of the Working Families Party, which has endorsed Nixon: “There’s no doubt she has the volunteer energy, because people know her as a bold and fearless activist, not an actress. She’s been in the trenches [on education, labor, LGBTQ, and civil-rights issues] for decades.”

    In 2002, another upstart Democratic gubernatorial candidate likewise used a petition to get on the ballot. The young Andrew Cuomo eventually dropped his campaign against State Comptroller Carl McCall days before the primary, blaming his low standing in the polls on race. “The negative here,” he explained to The New York Times’ Bob Herbert, “is that I was running against the first African-American. It was his turn…. How could I go against Carl McCall? How could you do that? Don’t you like black people?”

    Ah, there’s that trademark Cuomo charm! While the governor is widely feared by Democratic insiders, he is warmly backed by few. He has undoubtedly notched some progressive accomplishments, from marriage equality to paid family leave. But his brash contempt for democratic norms, alongside a notable failure to lead on a range of progressive issues, from cleaning up Albany corruption to education funding and tax equity, has left him vulnerable to challenges from the left—first by law professor and activist Zephyr Teachout in 2014, and now by Nixon. “I don’t think people are excited about voting for Andrew Cuomo. I just don’t,” Nixon tells me later in the bright, homey kitchen of her Noho apartment. “We want to get people excited again about the Democratic Party.”




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