Fracking isn’t moving forward yet in New York because one man, Andrew Cuomo, insists on just standing there. Could the reason be the ideological and wildly hypocritical wife of his Director of State Operations?
You can’t be a government leader in a republican democracy without first being a politician, as John Kennedy famously observed. It’s the high price we pay for the freedoms we have; we end up being governed by manipulators of facts making the case for their own ascensions to power and privilege.
Yet, before getting too cynical, we must also recognize some politicians do become decent leaders for the same reasons, their power to persuade. Such individuals have, upon being elected, used their campaigning abilities on behalf of the governments they serve, a shift of emphasis allowing them to steer nations and states through difficult times. Others continue to campaign for themselves and the next seat of power, steering around issues that won’t serve the cause and establishing themselves as above and apart from the government they’re suppose to lead.
Andrew Cuomo has the capacity to be the former, but has chosen to be the latter when it comes to the fracking issue. There may be an explanation.
Cuomo isn’t leading New York State on the fracking issue, doing something to move things forward. Rather, he has opted to just stand there. Worse, he has instructed his department heads to stand in the closet where no can see or talk to them. Anyone seen Joe Martens lately? Shah, the Health Commissioner, was last seen leaving on a jet plane to parts yonder to collect information already available from his own department’s work.
The real Cuomo government is an inner circle of advisors who decide everything of importance depending upon its value in electing him again. They see no short-term value in demonstrating leadership on fracking, so it isn’t happening. Still worse, Cuomo’s closest advisors are deeply influenced by ideologues of the far left who are happy to frustrate any progress on fracking.
One of those advisors, indeed the closest outside of family, is State Operations Director Howard Glaser and, as Fred Dicker reported back in May of this year, Glaser is married to Karen Hinton, whose public relations and lobbying firm has been representing a group of South Americans suing Chevron. That case has its own sordid history, which you can read about here and here, and Cuomo doesn’t look so hot in that either. Hinton used to work for Cuomo herself and, as the linked stories indicate, has bragged about Cuomo doing prosecutorial favors for her when he was Attorney General. She also says this about herself, on Twitter:
“Taking on big oil, big banks & other big bullies one tweet at a time in Washington DC & New York.”
This isn’t all Hinton says on Twitter, though. I did a little searching of her Tweets and found these:
It’s not hard to see which way the wind is blowing here. Cuomo’s right hand man is apparently getting this kind of pillow talk from his left hand woman every night. We already know from her own words that Cuomo does favors for her. Here’s what she said in an e-mail about the way she got Cuomo involved in the Chevron case:
“Andrew has no interest in doing this,” Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the Ecuadorians, wrote in an e-mail in 2009. “He is doing this for me. Because I asked.”
Hinton and her husband are as close to Cuomo as two people can get and this is how they operate and what they believe. Is it any wonder Cuomo has adopted his just stand there stance and sent Martens and Shah to parts unknown? Does this help explain why New York, unlike Pennsylvania, California, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, to name just a few of the states who have moved forward, is paralyzed; it’s department heads banished, its bureaucracy afraid to move and its people stymied? I’m afraid it does.
The Fracking Hypocrisy
What’s even worse than all this, though, is what I learned about Karen Hinton’s hypocrisy. Here is a shot of the Glaser-Hinton home featured in the Washingtonian back in 2009:
Notice the red gas range on the far side of the kitchen? Here’s the photo caption:
This kitchen’s focal point is a dark-red cast-iron Aga range, which is always on—no preheating necessary. Photograph courtesy of Anthony Wilder Design/Build.
And, here’s some more from the article (emphasis added):
Glaser says the focal point of the room is the cast-iron Aga range, which has both gas and electric components. The radiant-heat appliance—which means it’s always on, no preheating necessary—weighs 1,300 pounds. The floors had to be reinforced to support it.
Hinton loves the gas fireplace in the living room, which reminds her of her grandparents’ farmhouse in Mississippi.
Well, isn’t that just grand? Hinton tweets out how much she hates fracking and her husband ensures there’s no fracking in New York, while the two of them brag about their gas appliances in their trendy Washington area home, appliances fueled with fracked gas, and the Southern Tier of New York goes hungry. So goes Andrew Cuomo’s New York, where politics isn’t the way into office but, rather, the only thing there is.