Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo

Don’t mess with Albany’s junkyard dog because he may take a bite out of you some day.

Critics of New York governor Andrew Cuomo are enjoying a bit of schadenfreude these days as he faces blowback from his boneheaded decision to underreport COVID-19 nursing home deaths.

He blamed that underreporting on political considerations at the time (e.g. political abuse from then-president Trump). That’s no excuse. Tough guy Cuomo could have easily fended off the childish taunts of Trump.

The New York Times ran a Feb. 22 article called “Uprising Grows over Cuomo’s Bullying and “Brutalist Political Theater.”

My esteemed colleague, Fraser Seitel, weighed in on the same day with “Cuomo’s Crisis Lessons in Failed Leadership.”

Seitel opined that the Governor’s “dizzying fall from grace—from first to worst among US governors—provides a cautionary tale not only for public figures but also for those who advise them.”

[Note to Fraser: Texas governor Greg Abbott, who was AOL when the power first went out in the Lone State only to reemerge blaming windmills for the massive power failure, would love to trade places with the New Yorker]

Cuomo’s critics should gather those rosebuds while they can.

The Empire State’s gruff, brass-knuckled governor and somewhat intimidating leader cares little about the complaints about his management style. He’s not out to win PR plaudits.

The Pride of Queens has approval ratings that other politicos would die for.

A Morning Consult poll released Feb. 21 gives Cuomo a job performance approval rating of 57 percent and a disapproval score of 38 percent.

Those numbers are down slightly from the 63 percent, 33 percent ratings from a month earlier poll that was conducted prior to reports of the undercounting of nursing home deaths.

Another Siena College Research Institute poll released this month put Cuomo’s favorability rating at 56 percent, compared to a 39 percent unfavorability score.

New Yorkers and much of the nation respect the competence that Cuomo displayed during the height of the pandemic. when most of the nation was clueless and on lockdown.

His straight-talk daily COVID-19 briefings calmed the fears of many and instilled a can-do sense that America would ultimately prevail against the pandemic but at a great cost.

That was in sharp contrast to the magical thinking streaming from the White House, which downplayed the outbreak and promised that it would just disappear. Poof...

While real-world Cuomo was warning about rising COVID-19 deaths, Trump on March 24 said it would be a “beautiful thing” to have “packed churches” on Easter, which was April 12. Obviously, churches were zipped tight on Easter.

Cuomo’s take-charge response to the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be a PR hit.

The proof is in the numbers. At the end of pre-pandemic 2019, Morning Consult had Cuomo’s job approval rating at 47 percent and disapproval at 42 percent.

That approval rating is 10 points below his current approval rating in the aftermath of the underreporting of nursing home deaths.

Seitel is right on one point. Cuomo’s book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” was way premature.

This is no time for self-serving victory laps.

More than 500K Americans are dead from COVID-19 and the country may lose another 100K people before the pandemic is under control.

Keep your nose to the grindstone, Andrew.

Hats off to Rupert Murdoch for striking a three-year global deal with Google, which will now fork over cash for the use of News Corp. content. It is unconscionable that giant platforms “steal” material from legacy media companies.

Google will now pay for the use of News Corp. titles such as the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch, New York Post, Times of London, The Sun, Sky News and The Australian.

News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson said the company has been fighting the platforms for more than a decade. “For many years, we were accused of tilting at tech windmills, but what was a solitary campaign, a quixotic quest become a movement, and both journalism and society will be enhanced.”

He graciously tipped his hat to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and his team for showing a “thoughtful commitment to journalism that will resonate in every country.”

One hopes.

The COVID-19 crisis has taken a mental toll on doctors, according to a Feb. 24 study from McCann Health.

Though the public has rallied around healthcare providers, doctors say the joy they associate with their profession has dropped from 35 percent to 21 percent since a 2016 McCann study. Physicians also report their fear of treating patients has doubled to 24 percent.

Doctors do report a great sense of dutifulness, up from 43 percent to 62 percent.

They yearn for stability, which jumped from 15 percent to 50 percent.

We all pray for that post-COVID 19 stability.