Sib­ling ri­valry can only help Andrew Cuomo

Char­tock: Peo­ple are talk­ing a lot about CNN star broad­caster Chris Cuomo and his brother, the gover­nor.

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Alan Char­tock Capi­tol Con­nec­tion

Peo­ple are talk­ing a lot about the Cuomo broth­ers, two big strap­ping guys. I re­ally have no idea what CNN star broad­caster Chris Cuomo thinks of his brother, the gover­nor. Andrew, the old­est son, play­fully re­ferred to his ju­nior brother when he gave a eu­logy at his fa­ther’s funeral. Jokes are a funny thing or, as Freud is said to have in­toned, “There is no joke.” We know that sib­lings are of­ten com­pet­i­tive and oc­ca­sion­ally jeal­ous of one an­other. Dur­ing that same eu­logy, Andrew made one of the ma­jor mis­takes of his ca­reer. He re­ferred to the now in­dicted Joe Per­coco as “the third brother” that Mario loved best. Good time to re­mem­ber what Freud said about jokes.

Any­one who watched the run up to Hur­ri­cane Irma got to see a very buff Chris Cuomo out­side in shorts and a tee shirt. He was the talk of so­cial me­dia. There must be times when Andrew is just a lit­tle jeal­ous of Christo­pher, es­pe­cially when Andrew is un­der at­tack. There was Chris, un­de­feated by the gale force winds and lean­ing palm trees, talk­ing to Repub­li­cans and Democrats and ending each in­ter­view with heart­felt thanks for what the in­ter­vie­wee was do­ing in the time if cri­sis. For his part, Gover­nor Andrew dis­patched New York cri­sis teams to help out but con­sid­er­ing all the news, Gover­nor Cuomo’s ac­tions barely got a men­tion in the print and elec­tronic me­dia.

As we all know, both love and ri­valry can ex­ist be­tween sib­lings. Noth­ing un­usual there. Some­times those ri­val­ries can be tricky things. One brother or sis­ter may carry strong feel­ings about the other for the rest of their lives while the sib­ling to whom the an­imus is di­rected has no such feel­ings. Some­times it’s about money or in­her­i­tances. Some­times it’s the stuff best re­served for a shrink’s of­fice, as in the Smoth­ers Broth­ers’ oft heard com­plaint, “Mom al­ways liked you best.” In­evitably things get very com­pli­cated.

Many times peo­ple hold one brother re­spon­si­ble for what the other did just be­cause they look or speak alike or share a last name. We know that isn’t fair to ei­ther brother. Hey, I’m an iden­ti­cal twin and I know that both of us have come up against that non­sen­si­cal stuff. My brother once re­ported to me that some­one who hired him as a con­sul­tant in New York state told him that he couldn’t work at that place any­more as long as his last name was “Char­tock.” I still haven’t got­ten over the un­fair­ness of that one.

In the case of the Cuo­mos, you have to ad­mit that the two broth­ers do have a lot in com­mon. They re­sem­ble one an­other in some ways and their voices cer­tainly share some sim­i­lar­ity so peo­ple may be tempted to do what is un­fair. Chris re­port­edly makes more than $2 mil­lion a year, a lot more than a gover­nor. Not only that, ev­ery time he takes on a Repub­li­can heavy hit­ter, par­tic­u­larly from the Trump administration or its en­vi­rons, there will be peo­ple who un­fairly (I think) ac­cuse him of car­ry­ing Andrew’s wa­ter. On the other hand, his last name is Cuomo. That same name has un­doubt­edly helped Andrew achieve his high sta­tus in New York state pol­i­tics, par­tic­u­larly in New York City, where he re­mains pop­u­lar enough to over­come any re­sis­tance to a third term.

My guess is that Chris’ pres­ence on TV, par­tic­u­larly his star per­for­mance dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Irma, can only help Andrew in his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer. It’s all fas­ci­nat­ing. You re­ally don’t see this kind of thing all that of­ten. As tough things hap­pen to ei­ther brother in their ca­reers there will be those who un­fairly hurl un­founded ac­cu­sa­tions. I ex­pect some tough de­ci­sions will be have to be made by Christo­pher, par­tic­u­larly if his brother ends up run­ning for pres­i­dent or af­ter the po­lit­i­cal trial of the cen­tury, in which Andrew’s friends go on trial.

Sun­day Freeman colum­nist Alan Char­tock is a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at the State Univer­sity of New York, pub­lisher of the Leg­isla­tive Gazette and CEO of the WAMC North­east Pub­lic Ra­dio Net­work. Read­ers can email him at alan@ wamc.org.

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