Imagine if Texas Senator Ted Cruz or Lone Star State Governor Rick Perry told a public radio show's host that "people who support abortion, gun control, and same-sex marriage have no place in Texas." There would be breaking news alerts on every cable news station. It would be a press obsession for weeks. More immediately, there would be intense pushback from the show's host.
On the public radio show "Capitol Pressroom" with Susan Arbetter on Friday morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is surely assessing the 2016 presidential landscape, asserted that "extreme conservatives" – that is, people who are pro-life, understand the clear meaning of the Second Amendment, or wish to keep marriage as it has traditionally been defined – "have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are." Arbetter just let Cuomo's remarks slide on by without meaningful follow-up, and arguably appeared to agree with their thrust. Audio and relevant portions of the transcript follow the jump.
Arbetter had just cast doubt on Cuomo's progressive legitimacy: "... because you're out raising money from these traditional Republican donors, there's a fear that you're leaving your progressive roots behind, which was, it sort of emblematic that you visited the Harvard Club yesterday (audibly chuckling at the very thought), it sort of underscores that sort of move away from traditional Democratic values."
Cuomo changed the subject, assuming an arrogant, condescending parent-to-child tone which has to be heard to be believed (HT to Albany Times Union via Life News; bolds are mine; click on the image of Cuomo to open up the audio in a separate tab or window):
ANDREW CUOMO: I don't think that's right, Susan. I think it is a very important point. But I don't think it's that I'm less of a Democrat.
I think what you're seeing is, you have a schism within the Republican Party. You have, the Republican Party is searching for an identity. They’re searching to define their soul. That’s what’s going on.
Is the Republican party in this state a moderate party or is it an extreme conservative party? That’s what they’re trying to figure out. And it's very interesting because it’s a mirror of what’s going on in Washington, right? The gridlock in Washington is less about Democrats and Republicans. It’s more about extreme Republicans versus moderate Republicans.
CUOMO: And the moderate Republicans in Washington can't figure out how to deal with the extreme Republicans, and the moderate Republicans are afraid of the extreme conservative Republicans in Washington, in my opinion.
You’re seeing that play out in New York. The SAFE Act. (Cuomo proudly calls "The SAFE Act" [The Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013] the "toughest" gun control law in the nation. — Ed.) The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act. It was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate!
ARBETTER: Uh —
CUOMO: Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York —
ARBETTER: So this –
CUOMO: — because that’s not who New Yorkers are.
If they’re moderate Republicans like in the (New York) Senate right now, who control the Senate —
— moderate Republicans have a place in this state. George Pataki was governor of this state as a moderate Republican; but, not what you’re hearing from them on the far right, and not this clash that you're getting from the, quote-unquote, uh, "power brokers" of the party now: "We are right to life, we are pro-assault weapons or anti —
ARBETTER: Are you talking about Republican Ed Cox?
CUOMO: Whoever. Look at their positions, and you see a great battle of positions that are now being criticized that were passed by the moderate Republicans in the Senate, y'know.
That's what's going to play out this year. Who are the Republicans, and who wins between the extreme conservatives and the moderates?
A short time later in the interview:
CUOMO: Moderate Republicans I work with. Moderate Republicans passed my agenda for the past three years. They want to criticize my record. My record was passed by the moderate Republicans. So they're criticizing themselves.
ARBETTER: Have you –
CUOMO: So this really isn't about me, Susan. This is, who are they? And who is going to win between the conservative Republicans, extremely conservative Republicans, and the moderately conservative Republicans?
And literally look at the issues they pick.
Are we right-to-life or are we pro-choice? Well, if you're right-to-life and that's your opinion and that's your religious belief, that's fine. But that's not the opinion of this state. This state is 70% a pro-choice state.
Well, "we're anti-gun control." That's fine. Uh, 70% of this state wants intelligent gun control.
Well, "we don't agree with gay marriage, we're anti-gay." That's fine, but 70% of this state, about, is now pro-gay marriage.
So figure out who you are, and figure out if your extreme conservative philosophy can survive in this state.
And the answer is no.
ARBETTER: We have to take a break. Governor Cuomo, sending a message to Republicans in the state Senate ...
Note that in Andy Cuomo's world, being against same-sex marriage means "anti-gay."
But let's get back to Susan Arbetter.
Susan, Cuomo's message was about far more than "Republicans in the state Senate."
Cuomo, even if you believe his cited poll numbers, essentially told the 30% of the state which is pro-life, the 30% which can read the Constitution's Second Amendment, and the "about" 30% which opposes same-sex marriage that they "have no place" in the Empire State. Given that the makeup of each group differs somewhat, what Cuomo is saying is that at least 40% (a guess-projection based on his figures — I believe it could actually be a majority) "have no place" in New York, and might as well just leave. Though that is already happening to an extent, it would seem that Cuomo would not be at all displeased to see the exodus accelerate.
A perfectly reasonable question to ask Cuomo after his lecture would have been, "So are you suggesting that those who are pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and pro-traditional marriage should leave the state?" But Arbetter did not challenge Cuomo in any way, shape, or form, and her "Mm-hmms" came off to me as near-encouragement to Cuomo to continue elaborating.
There isn't a snowball's chance in Hades that someone like Arbetter would let a conservative say that liberals who disagree with them have no place in their state without a serious challenge.
In the second half of the audio above, Cuomo rules out providing even more money to schools than they are already getting, and pointed out that the state, which spends more per child on education than any state in the nation, is getting only middling classroom results. He also said that "there is no more money."
In unexcerpted material, Cuomo also expressed strong support for formal evaluations of classroom teachers, and noted that the implementation of the "Common Core" in education "has raised real concerns all across the board."
Watch out, Andy. Some people would consider those positions "extremely conservative." Maybe you're the one who has "no place in the state of New York."
Not that anyone will be surprised at this, but for the record Cuomo's intemperate "no place in this state" assertion is not news at the Associated Press's national site or at the New York Times. A Google News search on "andrew cuomo no place new york" (not in quotes) indicates that Cuomo's remarks have barely made a ripple in the establishment press, especially outside of the Empire State.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.