By most measures, New York is pretty much already a one-party state. All three statewide office holders are Democrats, as are both U.S. Senators, and 22 out of the state’s 27 members of Congress. A Democrat hasn’t lost statewide since 2002; a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t carried the state since 1984.
But when Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested on a public radio station on Friday that “extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault—weapon, anti-gay…have no place in the State of New York” it set off an uproar on right wing radio stations, blogs and Twitter feeds.
Never mind for the moment that even a cursory listen of Cuomo’s remarks reveals that he was not talking about whether or not extreme conservative New Yorkers are welcome in the state, but the political prospects of extreme conservative political candidates—a subject Cuomo knows well, since he defeated a Tea Party-backed opponent by 27 points in 2010 to win his seat.
By the end of the weekend, stories that the governor of New York thinks that conservatives have “no place in New York” were posted on Glenn Beck’s website“The Blaze;” and the National Review online, where a blogger said that Cuomo was promoting a “culture of death” and wanted to banish “anyone with a heart for the unborn to New Jersey.”
In an open letter to the governor, Beck himself wondered if Cuomo wanted to bring tyranny to the state. “Would you stand against your constituents and blot them out into the darkness merely because you disagree with them, or because it serves you or your party politically?” he wrote. “Would disenfranchised peoples have ever gained their freedoms in this country were it not for the right to free speech, and the pluralistic and truly diverse society that free speech facilitates?”
On the website of the Archdiocese of New York, an aide to Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrote that, “It is deeply troubling when an elected official, who took an oath to uphold the Constitutions of our state and nation, casts out of polite society all those who disagree with him. Remarks like these reflect not only a noxious political climate in our nation, but a deep-seated spiritual malady that St. Augustine called the libido dominandi, the lust to dominate and rule.”
A number of conservative bloggers called for a state boycott and Sean Hannity took the occasion to threaten to move out of state, although it appears as if taxes and the lack of local fishing holes had more to do with his apparently imminent departure.
“Now I want to tell you something—I was born and raised in New York,” Hannity said on his radio show on Monday. “I want you to know that and I can’t wait to get out of here. I really can’t. I don’t want to pay their 10-percent state tax anymore. I live in the second-highest property taxed county in the entire country in Nassau County. I can’t wait to sell my house to somebody who wants it. I can’t wait to pay no state income tax down in Florida or Texas. I haven’t decided yet, but I’m leaning Florida because I like the water and I like to fish.”
On Sunday, the Cuomo administration fired back, naming in particular the New York Post and its influential Albany bureau chief, Fred Dicker—a one-time Cuomo supporter who turned on the administration after the governor re-upped a tax on upper income earners that was set to expire in 2011—for misleadingly reporting Cuomo’s claims.
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