This week was Kathy Hochul’s first state of the state address since winning an election in her own right. Less importantly, it was my first state of the state too. After all, keynote addresses about the future of our state are not to be missed. Or are they?
It’s often said that making laws is like making sausages: best not to look. Well after Tuesday in Albany I can tell you that I’d rather spend a month watching lawyers making sausages than suffer another hour of Gov Hochul making non-announcements.
It isn’t that Hochul is a bad public speaker. It’s just that she’s the same as almost every other one. She has the same intonation, the same hand gestures, the same fakeness and that same mix of grandiosity and banality that seems to get taught at politician school today.
For instance she told those of us lucky enough to be in the chamber in Albany that “We will do the hard things — the necessary things.” You mean like changing bail reform and actually locking up repeat offenders? Apparently not. The Governor explained that rocketing crime in New York is “created by a convergence of factors.” Ah. So not the hard or necessary things then.
Soon she was quoting Eleanor Roosevelt and promising that “We will build a new world. And we will be courageous.” That’s quite the promise. And what were Hochul’s courageous insights? Well she told us that “transitioning to the future, we know that future belongs to our children.”
I must admit that there were moments from my seat in the viewing gallery when I started to nod off. Perhaps it was the heat in the building. Perhaps it was the hot air. I had to check the record again afterwards to see that she actually said some of these things.
Hochul started by celebrating the fact that this year’s address was given to a full chamber. COVID restrictions meant last year’s address was delivered to an empty one. This year, by contrast the floor was packed with lawmakers. Representatives of both sides gave the Governor repeated standing ovations for her banalities. They were especially excited when she announced her policy on mental health, which she rightly identified as a problem in New York.
But while I watched everyone standing and clapping and hugging the governor on her way in and out I just kept asking myself the questions they didn´t seem to be bothering with down below. Like what does it mean to tackle a few thousand people who live rough in New York if you don’t even mention the fact that many times that number of illegal migrants have come to NYC in recent months alone? Why talk about getting a few thousand people into shelter when you can’t even mention the thousands of illegal migrants now being put up in — and trashing — the city’s hotels?
It’s the same with every “major” policy Hochul announced. She warned about the problem of drug addiction and the dangers of opioids, without mentioning that NY has become a haven for legal drug-taking. How can you talk about mental health in New York without acknowledging the damage that marijuana does to young developing brains? Or the damage that school lockdowns did to all NY kids? Answers came there none.
At one point Hochul actually said: “To accomplish this we have to get it done.” I started to feel grateful she hadn’t given the address outside. Birds would have fallen out of the sky.
But all the time a nagging feeling kept me awake. Where were the public? Where were the people who the Governor was talking about and on whose behalf all these representatives had spent the morning at buffets glad-handing each other?
Well the public were outside. That’s right. Whether the excuse was COVID, or general “security” concerns, it seems that our representatives no longer actually have to mix with the people they represent. Legislators and lobbyists could all mill around the grand State Capitol building. Some of the old Cuomo gang have even made themselves up afresh as lobbyists.
But you had to go outside the building to meet the actual public. There, outside the state capitol were hundreds of protestors. Some were protesting about affordable housing. A larger number were protesting about vaccine mandates. I spoke to some of them afterwards and they said they hadn’t been able to get within a million miles of Hochul.
She had managed to avoid any contact with the masses.
Some had managed to wave their signs in front of a few of their representatives as they scurried past them in the street. But the chance of the public actually making their voice heard was effectively nil. And I’m sorry but that is rotten. And just one reason why the divorce between the governing class and the governed has rarely felt bigger. What a state.
Slippery when ‘Vette
So it turns out that President Biden was up to the old “holding onto secret documents” trick as well. Though it seems that rather than keeping his top-secret documents in his wife’s closet, he keeps them, among other places, by his Corvette in Wilmington. And how did he reassure the nation when asked about this yesterday? Well, he said, he keeps his Corvette in a locked garage.
Well thank goodness for that. Because if there is one thing that neither the Chinese, the Russians nor any other spy service in the world has ever worked out it is how to open a garage door. Especially ones in Wilmington. It befuddles them. The Kremlin are still trying to find a way in even as I type.
But seriously, it looks like someone is trying to take Biden out with this drip of allegations. Certainly it helps neuter his case against his predecessor. But if you look at the media this story was leaked to I see dirty Democrat fingerprints everywhere. We know there are plenty people in the party who are trying to take Biden out of the running before the next election. And they know they’ve got a short time to stop him.
But what the heck is their plan after that? Who is their great savior: Mayor Pete? Governor Newsom? Good luck with that.