Politics

Andrew Cuomo’s Soviet America

Intolerance and the privileged class.

By 1.23.14

UPI
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You could call him the governor of a sovereign state.

A sovereign state of Soviet America.

Andrew Cuomo is not the governor of New York.

Andrew Cuomo is the governor of a state of Soviet America.

An America that is the land of a government-created Privileged Class. A land where political correctness rules — and people like, say, Sean Hannity or the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty or South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott are not wanted.

It is the American version of the late Soviet Union.

In fact, this is exactly what Barack Obama has been about when he talked about “transforming America.” It is what Bill de Blasio is all about creating in New York City. (As New Yorkers charged here within the last 48 hours in saying the new out-there-socialist Mayor de Blasio deliberately targeted wealthy New Yorkers for no snow clearance in the recent storm. Welcome to Soviet New York City.) And as with Cuomo, de Blasio and his fellow liberals in New York, that Obama transformation creates exactly what it did in the Soviet Union — a two-tiered country dominated by an exclusive class of favored, extremely intolerant liberal political elites. Political elites whose sense of moral superiority drives their grasp for even more privilege.

Moral superiority has become the calling card of modern American liberalism, usually served up with a helping of sniffy intellectual superiority on the side.

One can run through the list of liberal prominents — from Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton to John Kerry all the way down to the lowest rung of MSNBC talkers or liberal scribblers — and the identifying characteristic is remarkably the same. The dripping condescension to all who don’t fit into the privileged liberal clique that is Soviet America.

As Sean Hannity revealed last night, way back when the New York Times interviewed New York Mayor Ed Koch, the longtime liberal Democrat who lost the 1982 New York Democratic primary for governor to Andrew Cuomo’s father, Mario. Andrew spent his early career, as the Times describes here, as the manager of his father’s campaigns. Koch thought of him the same way, and thus held Andrew Cuomo as responsible for a Mario Cuomo billboard that blared: “Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo.”

So now Andrew boasts that those who are “anti-gay” should leave New York? This is Soviet America personified.

When will Andrew Cuomo be packing his bags?

It is the adult political twist on high school writ large. The smug, self-satisfied in-group looking down their noses at the geeks or the non-jocks or those not running with the prom queen and her mean girls or the prom king and his football jocks.

Cuomo, the governor of New York, expressed the sentiment exactly: “Who are they?” the governor sniffed as he began his now infamous riff, hoping Ed Koch was so safely in his grave no one would notice that Koch had bluntly accused Andrew Cuomo of being anti-gay:

“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 they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

Wow. Talk about hypocrisy.

As Todd Starnes pointed out over at FOX News, this was a sentiment that summoned the memory of the late “Bull” Connor, the infamous Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner who unleashed police dogs and fire hoses on the ultimate “out crowd” in 1963 Birmingham — black Americans.

Glenn Beck observed — correctly — that Cuomo was nothing more than the New York version of Alabama Governor George Wallace. Wallace viewed civil rights protestors as “outside agitators” who should get out of Alabama.

Then there’s the Reverend William Barber II, the head of the NAACP in North Carolina, who deigned to travel south of his state’s border to lecture South Carolinians about their U.S. Senator, Tim Scott. Senator Scott, you see, is not only the first black senator from South Carolina — he is a conservative.

Well. The masters of the liberal plantation can’t have that, can they?

So out dutifully trots William Barber to loftily declare that Scott “is a pawn of the extreme right wing” that goes out and “finds a black guy to be senator and claims he’s the first black senator since Reconstruction and then he goes to Washington D.C. and articulates the agenda of the Tea Party.”

Take that, Tim Scott! You’re off the plantation!

What Reverend Barber and Andrew Cuomo are about is exercising their presumed moral superiority in the service of Soviet America. Barber has just read Tim Scott — and black conservatives in general — out of their race, not to mention their country. Cuomo simply wants pro-lifers, believers in the Second Amendment, and traditional marriage out of New York State. The sooner the better. Hello, George Wallace and Bull Connor.

Can you imagine if some Republican governor somewhere told his state’s pro-choicers, gun controllers, and gay marriage supporters to…just…get…out…of…my…state? Can you imagine the indignant uproar from liberals? From the New York Times? Not to mention the liberal chorus everywhere from MSNBC to the ACLU?

Of course you can.

None of this is new. This snotty attitude has been evident at least since the 1960s when genuinely good causes — the civil rights fights against the Democratic Party establishment pillars like DNC member Bull Connor, for one — sadly begat a raging and seemingly eternal case of liberal moral superiority.

In fact, it was precisely this arrogant sniffiness that helped solidify first Richard Nixon’s Silent Majority and then the Reagan Revolution after that. Americans who were busting their chops to pay the bills began to realize they were the objects of this sniffy disdain by people — academics, media figures, left-wing leaders — who were self-evidently not only no smarter than anyone else but perpetually winding up in some dopey, if not seriously violent, trouble as well. (Hello Bill Ayers and the Weathermen.) Long forgotten now is the “Hard Hat Riot” in May of 1970. Infuriated at snippy long-haired college kids protesting the war in Vietnam and demanding the release of so-called “political prisoners” — and infuriated at liberal New York City mayor John Lindsay’s lowering of the American flag over City Hall to honor the demonstrators killed at Kent State — members of the Building and Construction Trades Union stormed City Hall, with one hard hat making it to the top of the building and raising the flag back to the top. The union members, working men all, had had it up to here with liberal moral superiority.

Today it is this moral superiority complex that lies at the root of everything from Obamacare to the penchant for spending every last tax dollar in sight in the name of some utopian scheme or another. 

Cuomo’s statement — and as incorrect as it may be to write, “snotty” is the best descriptive of both Cuomo’s words and tone — may at last have been a tipping point what might be called the Sovietizing of America.

In which, just as was once true of the old Communist Soviet Union, there are two standards: one for privileged liberal nomenklatura, one for the rest of America.

Let’s hop in the time machine and go back to 1976, the year New York Times and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Hedrick “Rick” Smith published a book called The Russians. Smith served as the Times’ man in Moscow and had devoted, says the book, “four years of intense study, personal interviews and first-hand experience” to write his book about life in what was then presumed by liberals to be the eternal Soviet Union. Here’s an excerpt from the book’s chapter on The Privileged Class.

Smith begins with a quote from Stalin:

“… every Leninist knows (that is, if he is a real Leninist) that equalization in the sphere of requirements and individual life is a piece of reactionary petty bourgeois absurdity.”

The canny Stalin got right to the core truth of socialism. Or, as George Orwell had it long ago in Animal Farm:

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Nowhere was this more true than in the Soviet Union. In his book, Smith writes in detail of just how the Privileged Class and the “system of nomenklatura which guarantees both power and privilege” operated.

The fact that all the braying by liberals of “income inequality” was at the core of the Soviet Revolution. Yet as the Soviet state evolved, strangely the gap between rich and poor widened because the Soviet elite was all about Party “influence, connections, and access that money cannot buy.”

Just as today in Soviet America, people like Andrew Cuomo — he who attacks gun owners while living daily protected by gun-toting bodyguards — used their government privileges to construct a life of creature comforts unimaginable to the average Russian in the supposedly equal workers state.

Wrote Smith of life in Moscow, bold print added for emphasis:

Pick any weekday afternoon to stroll down Granovsky Street two blocks from the Kremlin, as I have, and you will find two lines of polished black Volga sedans, engines idling and chauffeurs watchfully eyeing their mirrors. They are parked self-confidently over the curbs, in defiance of No Parking signs but obviously unworried about the police. Their attention is on the entrance at No. 2 Granovsky, a drab beige structure, windows painted over and a plaque that says: “In this building on April 19, 1919, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin spoke before the commanders of the Red Army headed for the 9civil war) front.”

A second sign, by the door, identifies the building simply as “The Bureau of Passes.” But not just for anyone, I was told. Only for the Communist Party Central Committee staff and their families. An outsider, not attuned to the preference of Party officials for black Volgas and untrained to spot the telltale MOC and MOII license plates of Central Committee cars, would notice nothing unusual. Now and then, men and women emerge from ‘The Bureau of Passes’ with bulging bags and packages wrapped discreetly in plain brown paper, and settle comfortably in the rear seats of the waiting Volgas to be chauffeured home. Down the block and out of general view, other chauffeurs are summoned by loudspeakers into an enclosed and guarded courtyard to pick up telephone orders for home delivery. A white-haired watchman at the gate shoos away curious pedestrians as he did me when I paused to admire the ruins of a church at the rear of the courtyard.

For these people are part of the Soviet elite, doing their shopping in a closed store deliberately unmarked to avoid attracting attention, accessible only with a special pass. 

Accessible only with a special pass.

At the heart of Andrew Cuomo’s incensed complaint is the oldest of left-wing sentiments, that “some animals are more equal than others.” That was at the heart of the Hard Hat Riot in 1970 — and it is at the heart of the American Left today.

If you are pro-choice, anti-Second Amendment and support gay marriage, you are more equal, more deserving, than your fellow New Yorkers — your fellow Americans — who oppose these things. You have access with a special pass. Access to acceptability in the right circles, a job in academia or in the liberal media or government at any level, national, state or local. You are invited into the Privilege Class of Soviet America.

Smith tells the story of the wife of a Soviet poet who attended a party given by an important member of the Soviet Politburo named Polyansky. The guests had imbibed a tad too much, and the poet’s wife felt the need to use the bathroom. Writes Smith:

Soon, other guests heard a terrible racket. It was the poet’s wife smashing bottles of Mrs. Polyansky’s French perfumes — Lanvin, Schiaparelli, Worth — and swearing bitterly. “The hypocrisy of it all,” she fumed; “this is supposed to be a workers’ state, everybody equal, and look at this French perfume!”

The fact was that the Socialist Paradise that was the Soviet Union was nothing if not unequal. And unequal because for all the voluminous gab, leftism is nothing if not a mass producer of privileged elites — while denying equal opportunity to…as the term of the day went.... “the masses.”

In the Soviet Union, anyone who was seen as the equivalent of, to borrow from Cuomo, “extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay” — which is to say anyone who disagreed with the Soviet Revolution — had no place in the Soviet Union, because that’s not who Socialists and Communists were. So — off to the Gulags.

In the Soviet Union the privileged class had everything from country estates — dachas — to special shopping privileges, access to “tailors, hairdressers, launderers, cleaners, picture framers…food stores” and more. “More” including a special kind of hard currency that allowed the privileged to trade them in for massive quantities of the Soviet ruble.

In Soviet America, if you’ve gone to the right schools, work for the right network, belong to the right civic group (can you say Planned Parenthood?) — you’re in. If you make a pro-fracking film and want to show it at a Minnesota film festival — you’re out. And so is your film (as seen here)

In Soviet America one has only to look at the number of Americans on food stamps — 50 million — and contrast this with the life-style of those living Inside the Beltway. The more government has expanded, the more people have flocked to Washington to make a privileged living off of that government. As reported in the Atlantic:

… the Washington, D.C., area dominates the list of highest-earning counties (in America) claiming six of the top ten and 13 of the top 30…. More than 45 percent of its residents make more than $100,000 a year.

Food stamps for some, $100,000 incomes for others.

Welcome to Soviet America. Where the government is responsible for both the number of Americans on food stamps — and the privileged elite that makes certain those fifty million remain on those food stamps.

Say one thing for Andrew Cuomo.

In an unguarded moment he blurted out what is really at the heart of liberalism. Its central truth that “some animals are more equal than others.”

This is why the left’s endless campaigns against equal opportunity and free market economics. Because they can’t stand the idea that someone who has nothing works their butt off and succeeds — and can turn out to have politically incorrect views. The definition of the Privileged Class in the Soviet Union was control. And in Soviet America, control is what at issue.

The reason Andrew Cuomo can’t stand pro-lifers or defenders of the Second Amendment or traditional marriage is that they can’t be controlled. They not only refuse to go along with the Privileged Class on any given issue from abortion to fracking, they demand to be treated with equality. The reason William Barber and liberals can’t stand Senator Tim Scott is that they know they can’t control him.

Why do you think the liberal animosity towards people like, say, Sean Hannity or Phil Robertson or Ronald Reagan or anyone else who began with little and earned success? Because equality of opportunity is a threat to liberalism and the Privileged Class.

It is a threat to Soviet America.

Which is why millions flock to, say, Florida and Texas. The now much-publicized states of Hannity’s choice.

Florida and Texas?

They are not to be found in Soviet America.

Which is doubtless why liberals like Andrew Cuomo are so angry — and intolerant.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.