Quarantine This Terrible Awful Book (Cuomo troubles/in Trouble)

Good morning. We want to make sure you saw this devastating Politico review of Andrew Cuomo’s book. Yesterday, Cuomo recommended that those subject to an Ebola quarantine pass the time by reading his book:

Quarantine This Book

Andrew Cuomo wants Ebola patients to read his terrible memoir. I skimmed it, so you won’t have to.

By Jeff Smith
Politico October 27, 2014

You campaign in poetry and you govern in prose, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo once said. But what happens when the words get all jumbled up? This week was supposed to be the pinnacle of the political career of Mario’s son, Andrew, the incumbent New York governor. The poetry was supposed to go something like this: His new big-budget memoir would top the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list and be celebrated at an adoration-filled reelection coronation; the pageantry would help launch his national profile going into 2016 and set him up for the successful presidential bid his father never had.

The prose goes something like this: He couldn’t even find a thousand people interested in purchasing his memoir in its first week; he had a panicky, bumbled response to New York’s first Ebola case; and while, yes, he will be reelected next week, all anyone will remember from this campaign is how not once, but twice he had to grovel after strong showings by progressives. In fact, he’s so botched the Ebola response that he advised people in quarantine to spend the time reading his book-as if they weren’t already suffering.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had no official comment on this prescription, but we can only imagine what they were thinking after watching Cuomo’s error-filled response. First, he instituted a quarantine policy that health experts called counterproductive and antithetical to scientific knowledge, then he followed that up by erroneously accusing a volunteer doctor who had contracted the disease of failing to follow proper protocol.

Now I know you haven’t read Cuomo’s memoir-almost no one has. BookScan showed it sold just 948 copies in its first week, approximately 99,052 fewer than Hillary Clinton sold earlier this year in her first week on the market. And since you don’t have Ebola, you probably won’t be reading his book anytime soon either.

So I went ahead and read it for you.

All Things Possible turns out to be the 2014 political analog to Splenda-a saccharine memoir about Cuomo’s family, upbringing and political life meant to substitute for his actual presence on the campaign trail as he coasts to reelection. Its hagiographic gaze is certainly not unique among politicians, but even in the already low bar that is the political biography genre, Cuomo’s book seems unique in the degree to which current controversies circling the governor are not just glossed over, but ignored completely. It’s as if Larry Craig tried to write a memoir without mentioning the Minneapolis airport. (He actually did try to do that, but no publisher bit.)

Let’s begin with the book’s title. For someone who was tapped to run an $8 million dollar gubernatorial campaign at age 24; chosen to be an assistant district attorney in a prestigious jurisdiction after having failed the bar exam four times; picked to chair New York City’s Homeless Commission after just a few years of housing policy work; nominated as a U.S. Cabinet secretary while still in his thirties; and then quickly viewed as a mega-state gubernatorial heir apparent-all due primarily to his lineage-the title All Things Possible is more than a little ironic. Yet Cuomo doesn’t acknowledge the irony; quite the opposite, actually. He recently called his lineage "politically, a negative."

Cuomo clearly takes ample pride in the up-from-the-bootstraps story of his Italian immigrant ancestors, but the book’s attempts to conflate his forebears’ rise with his own gilded path as the son of a powerful three-term governor fall flat. Indeed, those less well-born-that is, approximately 99.99 percent of the population-may bristle at the insinuation, which might help account for the book’s chilly reception to date.

But a more plausible explanation for the book’s reception is evident once you get beyond the cover: It’s just not that interesting.

Keep reading at Politico.com

See also:

1. Cuomo’s Slow-Mo Disaster

The New York governor is in deeper legal trouble than he realizes.

By JEFF SMITH Aug 10, 2014

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