Cuomo's decision

Siegel, Fred

PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS CUOMO'S DECISION LIBERALISM & THE PRIMARY In physics we would su.speci an error if both freezing and heating were said to set water boiling But little notice was taken...

...The core of Cuomo's success as governor comes from what one of his critics...
...Worries about his family, the fallout from the Ferraro affair, his bad back, and the sheer tedium of the primary process were no doubt reasons for his decision...
...Lee At water, has described the Kean victory as part of a "newpolitical synthesis" based on a balanced mix of "compassion," fiscal conservatism, and traditional values...
...He would have to slug it out every inch of the way over a rugged terrain beginning with what for him would be unwinnable primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, and the Southern states...
...Rhetorically, Cuomo has emphasized the moral foundations of the welfare state, but in practice he's understood that support for government social programs is based to a large extent on enlightened self-interest...
...FRED SIEGEL (FredSiegel, author of Troubled Journey: From Pearl Harbor to Ronald Reagan (Hill and Wang), teaches in the humanities department of The Cooper Union in New York dm ) 136: Commonweal...
...Strangely, while taking Cuomo's explanation at face value and literally, the press has failed to connect the governor's decision to the change in the political climate brought on by the Democratic victories in the "86 mid-term election and then the Iragua affair...
...Democrats, he argues, should "serve ;he poor without crushing the middle class...
...Sounding a ncoconservaiive theme, he has accused them of "driving away a major segment of our constituency...
...c) called for Richard Nixon to take over America's arms control negotiations, a subject on which he'd previously had little to say...
...George Bush's top strategist...
...In the suburbs Cuomo was perceived as a pragmatist independent of the "special interests...
...d) issued a harsh attack on Gary Hart...
...He has in short order (a) made his strongest statement yet about environmental policy...
...But Cuomo has been sharply critical of liberal activists...
...The scenario goes something like this...
...Overwhelming majorities of New York's suburbanites support government intervention in health care, employment, and education, and also in aid to the poor and elderly, provided such intervention can be done at what (hey sec as a reasonable cost in taxes...
...Vehemently opposed to the death penalty, he's been a hawk on crime to the point of supporting various forms of preventive detention...
...Never mind that his intensity (unlike most politicians, he has an inner life), his volatility, his inaccessibility frightened other politicians...
...with the gift of magnetism, Cuomo would have been automatically elevated above the pack...
...Cuomo, a staunch defender of those tax cuts, used his term as lieutenant governor to cultivate the conservative, taxconscious, upstate New Yorkers who gave him his victory over Hd Koch in the 1982 gubernatorial primary Running against right-wing Republican Lew Lehrnian in the general election...
...e) called on New York's Democrats to stay uncommitted in the presidential race...
...His behavior since the withdrawal has all the earmarks of his earlier desire to run...
...PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS CUOMO'S DECISION LIBERALISM & THE PRIMARY In physics we would su.speci an error if both freezing and heating were said to set water boiling But little notice was taken when the elegies for the Cuomo campaign argued both that it was as a son of the New Deal that Mario Cuomo generated passionate support and that most of his supporters had no trouble in shifting their loyalties to Gary Hart, a man whose political career has...
...It's a message that has played surprisingly well in suburbs of New York City, where Cuomo has achieved unprecedented popularity for a Democrat...
...The governor's appeal for liberals nationwide "from a values component," as one West Coast activist awkwardly put it, is based largely on his stirring 1984 keynote convention address and his eloquent call for religious tolerance delivered at Notre Dame that same year...
...b) announced trips to Moscow...
...He increased state spending at a faster rate than the growth in personal income, but he's also supported traditionally conservative accounting reforms and emphasized "fiscal responsibility...
...But he's upset in New Hampshire by Governor Michael Dukakis from neighboring Massachusetts...
...until now...
...But there is something else here For the first time in many a year there are murmurings about a Democratic convention requiring more than one ballot...
...Walter Olson of the Manhattan Institute, calls a "popular combination of principles big government on a pay-as-you-go basis...
...He appeared to be the only hope to crack what had come to look like a 134: Commonweal permanent Republican lock on the presidency...
...and (0 encouraged the candidacy ol the moderately liberal Southern Senator Dale Bumpers ol Arkansas, a man regarded as someone who could derail the Hart candidacy...
...All of this could be seen simply as an attempt by Cuomo to enhance his position in the Democratic party and perhaps prepare for 1992...
...Democrat Mel 13 March 1987: 135 Miller, speaker of the New York State Assembly, responded: "...it's over now, at least until they draft him...
...From there on in at least five Democrats will slug it out, bloodying each other along the campaign trail, until by convention time it appears that the Democrats are about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory Once again Mario Cuomo becomes the indispensable man When told of Cuomo's decision not to run...
...Cuomo made his statewide reputation as lieutenant governor in the neoliberal administration of Hugh Carey, an administration marked by sweeping cuts in both taxes and services to the pixir...
...But if the high personal price of running were so overwhelming, why did he flirt with the idea for so long and so seriously...
...I have no reason to doubt all the personal reasons he gave for not running...
...Dale Bumpers...
...Cuomo has a talent for the creative balance...
...Although he was running for reelection in 1986 against a Republican ticket headed by a suburban county executive, Cuomo won 62 percent of the suburban vote, the best showing by a Democrat in sixty years...
...The governor of New York, described as Franklin Delano Cuomo by the ,\w York limes, has been defined as a New Dealer so often that it's simply taken for granted his support comes from having managed to do what Walter Mondale could not reassemble the New Deal coalition...
...As the chosen one...
...Simply put, the "new synthesis" meant that a candidate had to show that his heart was on the left even if his wallet was on the right It's a synthesis that also won the Virginia governorship for the Democrats in 1985 and a score of Senate scats for the Democrats in 1986...
...Across the river in New Jersey, Republican Governor Tom Kean has governed in a parallel fashion and on the basis of a similar coalition...
...If Cuomo had the magic formula, the best of both worlds a liberal image and moderate suburban support why didn't he go for the gold...
...March 7, 1988...
...But the weaker the Republicans the less value the Democrat:* as a party would attach to the Cuomo candidacy...
...Cuomo captured only half of the blue collar vole but beat Lehrnian by 11 percentage points among voters earning more than S40.(XX) a year...
...Japan...
...When scandal put the White House within easy grasp of the Democrats...
...An ally of the government employee unions, he's also defended the privatization of some government services arguing that "it is not government's obligation to provide services but to see that they're provided...
...been built on opposition to the New IX'al legacy...
...Israel...
...Cuomo became, despite his standings in the polls, just another contender...
...Have we seen the last of Mario Cuomo as a presidential candidate in 1988° Possibly not...
...This is a balancing act made possible by the vigor of New York's economy while Cuomo has been in office...
...Cuomo's standing among Democratic pols ironically rose and fell with Reagan's: Iragua helped produce his withdrawal...
...Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt, running hard on a protectionist platform, and Jesse Jackson all do well in the Southern primaries on Super Tuesday...
...Hart, who is weakened because he no longer has a "traditional Democrat" like Cuomo to serve as a foil, wins the opening contest in Iowa...
...In the general election Cuomo won less b\ gathering the faithful (he won only 58 percent of the 3 March 1987: 133 Italian vote) than by capturing traditionally Republican professional and managerial voters...
...The overwhelmingly popular Kean, whose base was in the suburbs, reached out to bring inner-city and blue-collar workers into his coalition, ft produced a recordbreaking reelection win in 1985...
...Before the mid-term elections weakened the Reagan presidency and then Iragua crippled it, Cuomo was the indispensable man, the one Democrat whose personal appeal could match the president's magnetism...
...But concepts roiely repeated, like the concept of the New Deal itself, lose their clarity of definition just as photographs lose their resolution the more they are copied...
...He could have been freed of some of the harsh scrutiny of primary campaigning and the stigma of possible defeat in the early heats...
...It was Cuomo's insight to sec that there was little in the way of a principled opposition to activist government among the suburban voters, now nearly as numerous as voters from New York City...

Vol. 114 • March 1987 • No. 5


 
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