Ever since actress Cynthia Nixon entered the New York governor's race, current Empire State Governor Andrew Cuomo has quickly moved leftward to head off what he clearly sees as a credible Democratic primary challenge. Even though Cuomo and many in the media see him as a strong potential presidential candidate, national coverage of his moves, and especially of his unhinged rhetoric last Friday, has been light.
Cuomo made an outrageous and at least semi-serious threat to physically "interfere" with any attempts to conduct offshore exploration or drilling off the state's shores.
What the said last week seemed so ridiculous that when I saw it mentioned at Powerline, I figured it had to be a joke. It's not.
Cuomo announced that the state would resist any federally approved offshore oil exploration or drilling effort, up to and including that promise to "interfere." His attempt to draw a Churchillian historical parallel was pathetic — so pathetic that, but for his Democratic Party affiliation, it would be fodder for unrelenting late-night TV ridicule for weeks:
ANDREW CUOMO: The federal government should hear my message. There is no how, no way we will ever allow offshore drilling.
We're going to advocate. We'll pass the law. We'll go to court. If that doesn't work, We're gonna take a page out of the book from Winston Churchill, and Dunkirk.
What Winston Churchill did, they were all alone, England. They were isolated. They had 300,000 troops stranded on the French shoreline. The Navy of the English fleet was down. He had citizens, charged citizens with pleasure crafts to go across the English Channel and rescue the 300,000 stranded soldiers.
800 citizen craft went across the English Channel and rescued 300,000 of the English soldiers.
If they're going to put a platform up, or an exploration task force up, I'm going to commission a citizen fleet, because we don't have a navy. We have a navy but it's a very small navy. I'm going to commission a citizen fleet from throughout this state to go out and interfere with their federal effort, just as Winston Churchill did in Dunkirk.
And if you think I'm kidding, I'm not. And I'm going to lead that citizen fleet. Because look, this is not happening in a vacuum. The federal government is attacking New York values, they're attacking the New York economy, and now they're attacking our environment and our public health.
Imagine the blanket negative national coverage a state governor would receive if he or she threatened, even humorously, to defy a ban on drilling on that state's federally-owned lands — especially if that delusional Governor compared himself or herself to Winston Churchill in the process.
Cuomo got the history painfully wrong, as a review of the full list of ships involved in the Dunkirk evacuation proves. His attempt to draw a historical parallel between rescuing hundreds of thousands of soldiers threatened with annihilation and violently disrupting efforts to find and produce oil is so vapid that it needs no further comment.
Readers here can judge for themselves based on viewing the video how serious Cuomo was about his promise to "interfere." Here's how the press has handled it so far:
- A short Associated Press story didn't mention it.
- A longer unbylined AP story did — in its final two of ten paragraphs. While the AP wanted to have readers believe that Cuomo was engaged in harmless kidding, the stated threat is there:
- A writeup at the New York Post didn't detect the hints of humor the AP somehow found.
- The New York Times has not covered the story, even with a wire service item.
- The New York Daily News offered a blurb, without the "citizen fleet" remarks.
- The other New York tabloid Newsday included the "citizen fleet" remarks at the very end of the story, with no hint of a smirk.
- A Google News search on "Cuomo oil drilling" (not in quotes sorted by date, past week) at 5:30 a.m. Monday morning returned 16 items, almost all of them either Empire State-based or environmental group press releases. Adding "Dunkirk" to the search reduced that number to seven.
A Nexis search of "Transcripts" on Cuomo and drilling came up with "No documents found."
Regardless of how serious Cuomo was, disruptive environmentalist groups like Greenpeace and others will almost certainly be encouraged by his remarks, and will take comfort in the high likelihood that the state's prosecutors will spare them the jail time they deserve when — and it's probably when, not if — they carry out the violence or vandalism.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.