Andrew Cuomo New York

New York: Cuomo Campaign Smears Cynthia Nixon as an Anti-Semite, Which is Demonstrably False

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Andrew Cuomo is a disgusting politician. His campaign distributed flyers calling his underfunded opponent Cynthia Nixon an ant-Semite. This is absurd on many levels, since Nixon and her wife are raising their children as Jews.

Cuomo is currying favor with the Orthodox Jews, who are a powerful voting bloc. He already made a deal with them not to investigate the abysmal policies of yeshivas that don’t teach in English and don’t teach science or other modern subjects. Torah study is just fine, but it is not a preparation for 21st century life.

The New York Times has already endorsed Cuomo’s re-election, based on his experience. Strangely, on the day after it endorsed him, it published an editorial about the sewer of corruption in Albany, swirling around the ethically challenged Governor Cuomo, whose top aides have been convicted of taking large bribes.

Years ago, when Andrew’s father Mario ran for Mayor against Ed Koch in New York City, mysterious posters appeared in the conservative neighborhoods of Queens, reading “Vote for Cuomo, not the Homo,” a slur against Koch’s unacknowledged sexuality. No one accepted responsibility but at the time it was assumed that it was the work of son Andrew.

Now Cynthia Nixon has laughingly turned that nasty slogan around and said, “Vote for the Homo, not the Cuomo.”

The latest campaign finance reports show Cuomo with $35 million, mostly from hedge funders, Wall Street, and big corporate names. Nixon has $2 million in individual contributions.

Here is today’s New York Times editorial about Cuomo’s latest smear, for which he of course takes no responsibility:

This is dirty politics, nearly as sleazy as it gets.

Days before Mr. Cuomo’s primary race for re-election on Thursday, the New York State Democratic Committee has sent voters a campaign mailer falsely accusing his challenger, Cynthia Nixon, of being “silent on the rise of anti-Semitism.”

It says she supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. She does not. It accuses Ms. Nixon of opposing funding yeshivas, private religious schools attended by many of the city’s Orthodox Jews. She has never said that.

“With anti-Semitism and bigotry on the rise, we can’t take a chance,” the mailer reads. “Re-Elect Governor Andrew Cuomo.”

This is the lowest form of politics, and the most dangerous, exploiting the festering wounds and fears along ethnic and religious lines.

“I didn’t know about the mailer,” Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference Sunday in Manhattan. “I haven’t seen the mailer.”

Sorry, Mr. Cuomo, but that strains credulity.

Mr. Cuomo dominates the state Democratic Party. It acts ethically or abominably at his direction, or at the very least, with his campaign’s blessing.

The committee no doubt sent this garbage in the cynical hope that it would prove effective with Orthodox Jews, who generally vote as a bloc, making them a sought-after constituency for New York politicians.

Geoff Berman, executive director of the state Democrats, said Saturday on Twitter that the mailer was “a mistake and is inappropriate and is not the tone the Democratic Party should set,” saying it wouldn’t happen again. Sunday, he went further, saying the party would “work with the Nixon campaign to send out a mailing of their choosing to the same universe of people.”

Even if that were possible so late in the campaign, it’s not enough.

Mr. Cuomo has an obligation to personally apologize and condemn these outrageous attacks. Voters deserve to hear Mr. Cuomo describe Ms. Nixon as a worthy opponent who abhors anti-Semitism. He should make sure that message gets to Orthodox voters ahead of Thursday’s elections. And he should fire the party official who came up with the idea for the flier.

While Mr. Cuomo is at it, he might also mention that Ms. Nixon attends a Manhattan synagogue. Saturday night, her rabbi, Sharon Kleinbaum, issued a joint statement with her wife, the teachers’ union leader Randi Weingarten, on Facebook, calling the charges in the mailer a “baseless lie.” Other Democrats have also condemned Mr. Cuomo and the Democratic Party for the flier.

State Sen. Liz Krueger, a Democrat who hasn’t endorsed a candidate in the primary, said in a statement released by the Nixon campaign on Sunday: “I am doubly offended and aghast that my party organization would produce and mail such a false, damaging attack on Ms. Nixon and then watch the Governor and key staff act surprised they had done this. Shameful.”

Given all the ethical lapses in Mr. Cuomo’s administration, of which he has also pleaded ignorance, this smear is appalling. It is the kind of cynical behavior that detracts from Mr. Cuomo’s often-impressive ability to govern. If he is not careful, it could make voters feel they have no choice but to vote for someone else.

Mr. Cuomo deserves a third term because of his potential to lead. He should stop squandering that potential now. To be sure of it, New York Democrats need to turn out in large numbers on Thursday to support every reform-driven candidate possible — for the Legislature, for attorney general, even for party committees. They can teach Albany a lesson it won’t soon forget.

What matters more? Experience or character? Cuomo has none of the latter and deserves to go down to defeat.

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